Shade Structure

Exciting Changes to The Hillside Playground...

Hillside's new shade structure arrived just before the bitterly cold weather. Hillside parent and artist, Mark Esposito was kind enough to create this rendering so that our community can better visualize what the structure will look like in the Spring when the columns are stained and the border and mulch are in place, and when the world turns green again! Thank you Mark!

The shade structure itself was purchased from a commercial manufacturer with over 50 years of experience and has required certified engineering drawings and meets snow load requirements. The roof is 26 gauge metal roofing, and the beams and columns are laminated southern pine (APA/EWS certified) for lasting durability.

When it is warm enough, the columns will be stained to compliment the other equipment on playground. The committee will also be selecting tables, benches and a trash receptacle to complete the project. If you would like to help with the next stage of the shade structure project, please contact the Shade Structure Committee Chairperson Mark Meola at

The PTO would like to thank Mark Meola and the rest of the Committee: Tasha Ferguson, Jacquie Gallo, and Susan Polsinelli, for their work. We would also like to thank Dr. Fasciglione for her input, advice and counsel on placement and throughout the process. We also thank our wonderful building maintenance team for their support and valuable input. Thank you Donn Armstrong, Karen Lasher, and Brian Kent.

Special thanks to Mark Meola, Hillside Parent and volunteer extraordinaire for all of his diligence: collecting bids; working with vendors, the installer, and District personnel; his leadership of the Committee; and for keeping the PTO informed about the progress through reports at monthly PTO meetings.

We would be remiss if we did not also mention the extraordinary help that the Committee received from Jim Dean, Director of Facilities and Operations for the Niskayuna School District and his staff. Jim advised the committee on the Shade Structure placement and drainage, he reviewed contracts and drawings, and he made himself available at all times to answer a myriad of questions. Jim and his staff also prepared the site with drainage pipes and he was at Hillside for the delivery of all materials. Jim was also on-site throughout the instillation to oversee and assist the professional installers. In fact, Jim saved the project from a potentially costly delay when the truck carrying the shade structure arrived a day early!

Without the assistance of dedicated Niskayuna School District personnel and our Hillside volunteers, this wonderful addition to our playground would not have been possible.

Thank you!