With construction of the new Willow Creek Elementary School underway in Fleetwood, Pa., Principal Lori Koehler and her team had two goals in mind with their new playground: to make it accessible to all children and ensure it was a smooth development process.
Aware of the involvement that playground development demands, the school selected Steve Hemler, sales consultant with General Recreation, to lead the project.
“We chose Steve not only because of the quality play equipment his company offers, but because he’d serve as our one point of contact for the entire process,” explains Koehler. “Any time I called, he was available or promptly called me back. Steve provided invaluable and thorough support.”
Hemler also designed a playground to fulfill the school’s most critical requirement: accessibility. The play area needed to offer fun and challenging play for a range of grades and for the special needs students within each grade.
“We incorporated components like the transfer station for kids with mobility impairments who aren’t limited to wheelchair access. They can move easily from their chair to the equipment at ground level,” says Hemler. “And, a series of reach panels and other climbing components offer ground level accessibility.”
For example, the play area includes The Pointe™ Natural Climber, which children can enter and exit from the ground. Willow Creek is the first school in Berks County to have a natural rock climber. In addition, the finished playground has plenty of open space around the equipment. ECORE rubber tile safety surfacing also provides a smooth surface for wheelchairs.
“Everyone loves the playground,” says Koehler. “It’s also close to several sports fields, so families can play during games. It really brings our community together.”
Do you want to create a playground that truly embraces children of all abilities? For more information, contact General Recreation at 800-726-4793.
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