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The following information can be gathered and marked on a two- or three-dimensional base plan:

  • existing sun and shade patterns throughout the day, including the areas of shade that are available or off limits to children during the day

  • new areas of shade to be created by planting trees and building shelters

  • areas of the grounds that are curently used for curriculum activities and future outdoor classroom spaces

  • existing plant species with details such as exact location, trunk diameter, spread, height, bed shape and dimensions, etc.

  • existing species of animals found on the site year round

  • locations and species lists for new trees and other plants

  • the location and depth of utilities infrastructure and the area around each installation that must be kept accessible for repairs and maintenance work

  • drainage patterns, including problem spots (areas where water collects, or places that do not receive any rainfall such as under an overhanging roof) altered water flow and new natural water catchment areas such as swales

  • the locations and brief description of any problems such as steep slopes, graffiti, diseased trees, places where litter collects, windy places, soil erosion around the base of trees, damaged fencing and signs, etc.

  • soil quality and type: contaminants such as salt, pH level, poor drainage, compaction, heavy clay, sandy, rocky, organic matter and areas where soil needs improvement

  • changes in elevations (slopes, depressions, etc.)

  • existing buildings, location of doorways, windows, outdoor water valves and features such as steps, canopies, gazebos, shelters, etc.

  • existing and planned components such as play equipment, flagpoles, benches, garbage cans, signs, composters, dumpsters, bike racks, fences, driveways, parking spaces, fire hydrants, retaining walls, street lights, telephone poles, catchment basins, etc.

  • present and future pedestrian routes and traffic patterns: sidewalks, informal pathways and shortcuts, access for emergency and delivery vehicles, school bus and drop-off zones

  • routes currently used by people between all doorways of the building and gateways or other points of access to the grounds, play spaces, sports fields, bike racks, dumpsters, storage sheds, portable classrooms, seating, etc.

  • places where snow is piled in Winter and turning space requirements for snow removal vehicles

  • current and planned site use such as play areas, sports areas, busy areas during recess, quiet spaces, adjacent parklands and other natural areas

  • wind patterns: direction, speed, areas prone to gusting or swirling

  • existing windbreaks and places where additional windbreaks can be created

  • views: to identify where views can be preserved or enhanced or where unsightly views from the yard can be screened

  • places where visibility to the yard from the street must be maintained for night surveillance

  • future plans of the school board such as portable classroom locations and upcoming construction, additions and renovations

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