Q&A: An Interview with Maura Hawkins Principal, Delta-Peach Bottom Elementary School
GR: Why was it important to build a new playground?
Maura: Delta is a historically Welsh town surrounded by a very rural community. Many of our students live within walking distance from the school and unfortunately we’d nothing to offer them for outside play; our school had not had any type of play structure for more than 20 years. Under such circumstances, building a playground was extremely important not only to them, but for their families after regular school hours.
GR: Why did you choose General Recreation instead of one of the other playground equipment companies?
Maura: We chose Gen Rec for a variety of reasons, most importantly Steve [Hemler’s] passion for making our playground a reality; his willingness to go above and beyond to see the project through to completion; and his commitment to excellence and community.
We were also very pleased with the product and excited about the option of a community-build, which Steve was willing to oversee. Other companies we investigated did not offer this option, or they offered something similar without the dedication of a certified employee. Steve’s willingness to assist in project organization, layout for excavation, presence onsite during the build and his level of commitment and follow-up sealed the deal for us.
GR: What were the non-negotiables?
Maura: We were working with a dedicated space and wanted to maximize it with as many features as possible. During our initial meeting, I had structure size and components in mind. Steve was able to insure we had a playground that fit into the space and served the capacity of children we’d hoped for. His knowledge and expertise made our vision a reality.
GR: How did the community-build go?
Maura: The community-build was amazing. From the loan of tools and manpower, to the actual dedication and construction of the project, this was a true community build.
GR: How did the local community get involved?
Maura: We’ve had many partners throughout this experience. For example, Exelon Corp has been a tremendous business partner and friend to our school. They hosted a successful golf tournament and donated $30,000 toward the purchase of the playground. Exelon also donated two days of employee time to build the playground alongside other volunteers. SixM Construction Corp donated the stone and landscaping carpet and assisted with excavation. Macomber Specialized conducted the excavation, donating their manpower, equipment and time; as well as the laying of the stone and mulch, which was such a time saver. They also donated the straw and grass seed for the site. West Shore Builders coordinated the digging of footers and they were assisted with some drilling by a local farm family, the Stewarts. Rick of West Shore Builders also assisted in overseeing construction planning from our end to support Steve. Plus, Marlyn Flaharty donated his time and loader to remove all equipment from the delivery trucks.
GR: What has the feedback sounded like since the grand opening?
Maura: Everyone is overjoyed. Many who are former students and their parents have expressed how pleased they are that the community finally has a proper play facility!
GR: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Maura: We cannot thank all of those involved in the project enough. Steve was and continues to be absolutely amazing and was a true pleasure to work with. I can guarantee any additional purchase will be made through Steve and he will be highly recommended for any opportunity that I have to share. He helped us greatly to maximize our playground budget.
See more of General Recreation, Inc’s Playgound Project Stories