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Building a Therapy Playground and Garden at Fircrest School

Fircrest School provides therapeutic services and housing for 200 youth and adults who have severe developmental disabilities. Last spring, fifteen University of Washington Landscape Architecture students and Professor Daniel Winterbottom worked with the school and Friends of Fircrest to design and build a quarter-acre garden and playground that offers active therapy options for residents. Careful attention was made to provide safe and accessible activities that stimulate physical coordination and offer sensory experiences. The playground includes ADA compliant swings, parallel bars that allow caregivers to lend support, and rubber surfacing to cushion falls. Wheelchair-height beds for vegetables and flowers, an accessible water pump, and water play features in the garden help to encourage residents with differing physical abilities and therapeutic needs to participate in activities.

Friends of Fircrest raised $55,000 for the project and hopes to add benches, lighting and other amenities in 2009. While the garden had been a goal of Friends of Fircrest for some time, it will also meet new state policy that requires multi-age playgrounds at residential habilitation centers.


Fircrest School staff and residents, Friends of Fircrest, University of Washington Landscape Architecture Design Build program.


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