Beckett & Raeder, Inc. developed an Outdoor Learning Center for children attending the Central Michigan University Child Development and Learning Laboratory, staffed by child care professionals and early childhood development students. Children from the community attend the center, affording the University program on-site teaching experience. The plan is designed to accommodate a private sculpture garden for the CMU students and an environmental playground used by the childcare facility.
The playground is fully secured and includes gathering spaces, activity hubs, interpretive opportunities, overlooks, a secret garden, vegetable garden, native landscapes, reading pavilion, dry riverbed with bridge, 'enchanted' forest, performance area, formal play area with play structure and soft surfacing, sand play, tricycle loop, suspension bridge, numerous unique pavement surfaces, and tricycle storage building.
The project was awarded LEED Gold Certification through the US Green Building Council. Site considerations which contribute to LEED points include certified wood products for all decking material and lumber, fescue seed mix for reduced potable water use for irrigation, and locally manufactured products. The Outdoor Learning Center is a children's play space that promotes active and imaginary play for preschool children of diverse cognitive and physical abilities.
Beckett & Raeder, Inc. provided master planning, schematic design, design development, construction documents and construction administration services for the project.