Putting Children First: RCN Timber Pavilion Classroom

As we’re looking forward to more of the holiday season, we wanted to share on a local community project we are thankful to have been part of: the Rochester Childfirst Network (RCN) Capital Campaign.

We practice the Triple Bottom Line business model of People, Planet, and Profit, putting equal importance on each with the belief that the mission of a for-profit business shouldn’t solely focus on profit. If sustainability is about benefitting people and planet in the long-term, community engagement is a vital component. We’re stronger when we work together. The RCN Capitol Campaign has rallied many companies and with good reason as this organization has been supporting the education and welfare of children in urban Rochester, NY since 1857.

The effort to revitalize and create “Natural Play” for the children of RCN an outdoor pavilion/classroom was conceptualized and developed collaboratively with support by local partners including Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care, IDEX Health & Science, and Barton & Loguidice. The outdoor pavilion/classroom will act as the centerpiece of RCN’s backyard play environment, a new initiative to incorporate more natural, accessible play opportunities.

Marsha Dumka, RCN’s interim Executive Director said, “This new pavilion will provide endless possibilities for true outdoor learning for our children. During the raising the children talked about all the ways they could use the pavilion in the spring – talent show, play, art studio, classroom for messy STEM experiments, picnics. We can’t wait!”

Tom Robinson, Landscape Architect with Barton & Loguidice (seen above in a local news channel interview) shared: “The timber frame structure is an integral part of the project design, expressing a commitment to sustainability and use of natural, renewable resources. We’re very excited to see the pavilion take form and so thankful to New Energy Works for donating all of their efforts including the timber frame design, the timbers themselves, the crafting and raising of the 20’ x 30’ timber frame pavilion.” Our many thanks to Tom for connecting us with this RCN effort. (Earlier this year we collaborated with Tom/Barton & Loguidice on a Natural Play project for the Lilac Adventure Zone Playground, also in Rochester NY.) 

Jeff, Rick, Owen, Sam, and Mike worked together to preassemble the RCN pavilion trusses on raising day.

Setting the first truss for the pavilion roof.

Playground elements are located up the slope towards the RCN facility while a ‘track’ perfect for running, skipping, biking, and other adventures will undulate around the property. A living roof will be created on top of the pavilion and will be visible from classrooms.

Natural Play” is a trend leader in childhood development as new studies continue to show the complex interplay of natural environment objects enhances cognitive flexibility/creativity, and boosts self-esteem in children. The enthusiasm of the RCN children, teachers, and administrators was palpable on raising day, despite the snow squalls!

The Douglas fir timbers, will support a roof system with a green, living roof and water harvesting technologies.

Our construction team recently finished installing t&g on the pavilion.

The RCN is a not-for-profit dedicated to advancing the quality of early education and care through leadership, advocacy, and innovative direct services to children. We’ll share more of this project as it progresses throughout 2019.