Mekeel Childcare Center
East Stroudsburg University – East Stroudsburg, PA
After years of cramped space in a “temporary” building, this Toddler through Preschool center had it’s own new building and new space for playscapes. Hooray! However, the architects and university had already spec’d out a traditional piece of playground equipment to fill the space when director Michelle Hoffman and I began talking. She knew she wanted something beautiful, natural and unique so she fought hard and finally convinced the univerisity to change their plans and go ahead with a natural playscape, built by the community.
East Stroudsburg is situated in the Pocono Mountain range of Pennsylvania and the Appalacian Trail even threads it’s way through town. We wanted to capture the feeling of the area so we looked at local rustic architecture, plant life, topography and local artists. We created a lean-to hideout, a giant sand play area with cedar-shingled playhouses connected (for easy mudpie makings), a push-button water tower that sends a trickle of water through a volunteer-made “mini-waterfall” embedded with marbles and glittery surprises, two hill slides, a shade trellis, and an arts stage with a beautiful mosaic mural as its backdrop.
Mosaic Artist Jill Elizabeth
Who are the people in your neighborhood? As soon as the folks at Mekeel Childcare center began the project they were contacted by this wild local jeweler, Jill Elizabeth, who in her spare time has been working on one of her many inspired goals: to mosaic the entire town of East Stroudsburg! How could we resist? So Jill joined the team, created a beautiful design to follow, and led the tile mosaic portion of the volunteer project.
And what a fantastic volunteer project it was! To start, the university rounded up whole commercial tiles from Jill early in the year and students were asked to “break tiles for kids” during various college social functions. Hammer, safety goggles, and go to town! Soon enough all the tiles were broken and ready for mosaic’ing. Jill then led volunteers in the tiling, installation and grouting of the Mosaic Mural.