A New Imagination Station Imagined in Kent

Plans for a new Imagination Station for the Kent primary and elementary school campuses were unveiled last week.

A new Imagination Station will paint the skies of Kent come October 2013 as plans for a new playground were unveiled at the town’s elementary school on Nov. 19.

Ithaca, N.Y.-based architectural firm Leathers and Associates visited Kent Elementary and Primary during the day last Monday to field feedback from students regarding their vision for a re-imagined Imagination Station. The original structure was demolished in July 2010 due to unfit safety standards.

Brittany Hyatt, one the project’s co-general coordinators (the second being Geanne McKechnie), said residents must raise roughly $125,000 in order for the Imagination Station to be built.

“This goal includes monetary contributions and material donations,” Hyatt said. “The more materials that we collect through donations, the number goes down for funds needed.”

Community participation will be vital to the success of the project, as residents will not only need to fund the new playground, but will be relied upon to construct it, as well. When the project’s fundraising goal is finally reached and a construction date is set, a total of 750 volunteers led by two Leather and Associates consultants will build the new structure.

“Our focus along with fundraising is to build our volunteer base because we need a lot of helping hands,” Hyatt said. “From childcare assistance, baking for bake sales, assistance at fundraisers, using a saw and blowing up balloons, we have a need for it all—we even have a childcare committee that coordinates free childcare for the days of the build for parents who volunteer.”

Residents will work in 75 to 100-person shifts over a five-day period based on age and skill set. Volunteers will build the playground in smaller sets to isolate mistakes.

“We’re using the same location the first Imagination Station was—the main element that is incorporated from the first one is the imagination and ideas from the children themselves.”

As far as any aesthetic semblance between the old and new Imagination Station, Hyatt said the design possesses a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

“There are some similarities in the sense that there are castles, tunnels, pirate ships and a train,” Hyatt said. “The second structure has a climbing wall, a tree house and a diner, too.”

The new Imagination Station will consist of two structures—a main playground dedicated for older children and another smaller structure for toddlers to enjoy.

The best of what’s to come in 2013 is the fact the new playground won’t be built off a pre-determined kit. The new Imagination Station is created by the minds of those who will be using it, much like the inaugural class of 1990 did when they first climbed the wooden castles that have become permanently etched into the Route 52 skyline.

Those who would like to purchase a picket to have their name immortalized on the fence surrounding the new Imagination Station can purchase one for $40 by visiting www.imaginationstation2.org. The committee will also have float during the Holiday on the Lake parade.