The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved the design concept for the Douglass Community Center Playground Replacement Project at its Sept. 21, 2021, meeting. The Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) will present the new playground design to the public Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at 7 p.m. The meeting will take place at Douglass Community Center, currently located at 705-H East Market Street in Leesburg.
The Douglass School, constructed in 1941 on land purchased by the African American community and transferred to the School Board to secure a facility for the secondary education of their children, was the only African American high school in Loudoun County until the end of school segregation in the County in 1968.
Renovation of the Douglass School, which recently housed programs operated by PRCS and the Douglass Community Center, is scheduled to be completed in 2022. PRCS is responsible for operation and maintenance of several of the site’s outdoor amenities, including the playground, which is currently scheduled for replacement. The department’s playground replacement program is focused on designing custom layouts that enhance public usage, including accessible features, multiage structures, interactive elements, educational concepts and themed programs reflecting the uniqueness of areas across the county.
With respect for LCPS’s vision to renovate large portions of the Douglass School site to honor, restore and preserve the rich cultural significance of the building, PRCS engaged in a concept design for the playground structure that would complement the projects and its vision. The Douglass Community Center playground replacement project is a great opportunity to create a themed experience that embraces the global impact and the contributions that African Americans have made as a part of American history.
As envisioned, the Douglass Community Center Playground Replacement Project creates a themed playground that exemplifies the African American experiences that enrich the American historical narrative. Custom structures were designed to embody an authentic play experience through intentional educational components.
“The Hall of Heroes,” inspired by the architecture for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, is the center structure that sets the tone for the themed playground concept. The play structure is designed to be a visually appealing, ADA accessible, multigeneration, educational, fun unit. The exterior captures the struggle and hope of African American people through etched images, which can be similarly explored inside the walls of the museum in Washington, D.C. Additional themes represented by custom designed play features include civil and social progress, innovation and technology, and arts and entertainment.
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