Thursday, March 31, 2011

Building a Playground: Part 3

According to an article written by Valle Dwight, every school can have a fun and safe playground. Is your school's play structure worn out, even dangerous? This is day three of the instructions on getting that playground up and going. By following this step-by-step guide, you can create a play space so dazzling that even the coolest fifth graders will come out and play.

Find a vendor

Picking the right vendor is key, Stowe says, because you want to be sure to find a reliable product and good support. Stowe's committee researched companies online, checked their reviews, and talked with parent groups that had recently built playgrounds. To find vendors in your state, check the Member Directory of the International Playground Contractors Association.

After narrowing your search, invite the finalists for a site visit so you can hear their proposals and get their estimates. Make sure you're clear on the final price tag, which includes playground surface and other “hidden” costs that may not be included in the estimate. As with Stowe's group, look for a vendor that offered a fair price, good warranty, and had solid reviews and references.

Get ready to sweat!

Be sure you have your work crew lined up when groundbreaking day arrives. Your vendor can tell you how many workers you'll need and the kind of work required. (Do you need people skilled with tools, or is schlepping all that's required?) Then put out the call for volunteers. Stowe had around 70 volunteers divided into several shifts, and the project took an entire day. Some parents dug holes and carried equipment, some poured concrete and tightened bolts, others prepared food for volunteers. Local landscapers provided the finishing touches with donated labor and equipment.


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