Priority:Play – FAQ

Priority:Play – FAQ

Priority Play Timeline for web

What is Priority : Play

Priority : Play is at the core of everything we do at Gilbert House. It is our priority to make sure that all children have the opportunity to engage in meaningful play with the adults around them. We have taken this philosophy into our fundraising as we look at providing access to play for children and adults of all abilities in our Outdoor Discovery Area. While we will be removing the current play structure, we are excited about the opportunity to bring new play opportunities to Gilbert House. Demolition and construction began on September 19, 2022

Why are you replacing the play structure now?

The current structure was built through a community build in 1998 using a kit with a 20 year lifespan. With our weather conditions and the volume of people we have had playing on the structure since then, the structure has started to deteriorate and has outlasted its life. We appreciate the work the community did to bring outdoor play to Gilbert House and we look forward to providing an updated play experience in Spring 2023.

What is happening with what is there now?

The play structure will be removed during the demolition phase of this construction project by our
partners at Dalke Construction. As the structure has reached the end of its prescribed life-span it has served its useful purpose and is being turned over to our construction partners for salvage and disposal in the most appropriate manner.

Is any of the current play structure staying?

The large pavilion like structures, sand and the Erector set will remain, but will have some improvements made to them. The deck walkway, and the large “stage” area, along with the other play structures will all be removed. These items will be replaced with new opportunities for children to run, climb, and slide, while children and adults with physical, mental, emotional and sensory challenges will be provided with better access to engage in more tactile play.

The current play structure was a large community build project. Will this be another community build opportunity?

We appreciate everything that the community did in coming together to build A.C. Gilbert's Backyard over 25 years ago.  Since that time, not only have things changed in what we know about accessibility and providing hands-on opportunities for play, safety around licensing of playgrounds has also changed. It is for these reasons that this will not be a community build project.


boy in yellow coat banner

Who is doing the project design?

The project has been designed by the landscape architecture team at Learning Landscapes. This Oregon company specializes in adaptive and sensory play experiences. Their experiences in designing play-based learning with natural elements encourages children and adults to broaden their imaginations as they come together to play.

What is accessible play?

An accessible playground allows kids with or without disabilities to access and experience play using a variety of playground equipment. It also invites parents, caregivers or older siblings with disabilities into the play area to supervise children and/or take part in the fun. All kids should be able to travel freely on smooth pathways and ramps, use grab bars with ease and be able to move from one piece of equipment to the next safely.

Who is building the play structure?

Gilbert House Children's Museum  has partnered with locally owned Dalke Construction for construction of this project. Dalke Construction has a rich history in this community and with projects in Riverfront Park and they are a natural partner to bring this new outdoor play space to life.

What is the construction timeline?

We broke ground on this project September 19, 2022. This timeline allowed children to play during the summer months with construction taking place throughout the winter. This gives us the best opportunity to welcome kids back to play on the new play structure in Spring 2023.

Will Gilbert House be open during construction?

Yes, the 20 indoor exhibits will all be available for play during construction.

How is this being funded?

A public fundraising campaign was launched in September 2021 and continues through project completion. Funds raised to date have come from community members, corporate sponsors, trusts and foundations.

How may I become involved?

We are excited to be able to bring seven new exhibits to Gilbert House's Outdoor Discovery Area. The biggest way you can become involved right now is through your financial support of the project and sharing our excitement throughout the community.