Ridgefield Academy plans construction of new playscape for students

Ridgefield Academy has been given the green light to construct a new, full-scale playscape for its students this summer.

Richard Baldelli, the town’s Planning and Zoning director, said there were “no concerns” about the project and that everyone thought it was “a positive.”

Tom Main, the head of school at Ridgefield Academy, called it “a pretty simple job.” He expects construction to begin in mid-June and be completed by the time students return to campus in September. The roughly $1 million structure — funded by generous donations — will replace an older playground on the campus that was outdated and in “a less than ideal location,” he said.

“The space it’s in right now, the drainage is very poor, the shape of the playground is limited by the typography,” Main added.

Plans for the new playground include a number of contemporary fixtures spread over a less than one-acre space. It will be accessible to all students as it is located smack-dab in the middle of campus and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The proposed playscape is a bi-level structure connected via a “sloped area” with steps and slides coursing through a flower bed. The swings, tetherball slot and a sports court will be housed on the lower level and two netted climbing structures with a net swing will be lodged in the upper plain.

Main also said there would be a zipline, outdoor classroom and student gathering space sandwiched between native plants and trees. Since the campus is a “private facility,” Main said it would only be available to Ridgefield Academy students when school is in session and will mostly be used by younger children.

The academy hopes to unveil the final product to students in September.

“There’s something really cool about having the children come to the campus in the fall and seeing it,” Main added, “There’s this ‘whoa, look at that’ [factor], so we’re excited about doing it that way.”