New Playground for New School, Cedar Falls

November 16, 2018

When Aldrich Elementary, a new school in the Cedar Falls Community School District, is at full capacity, it will house a total of 625 students: 20 PreK, 80 Kindergarteners and 525 first through sixth graders.

Part of building the new school was creating two playgrounds, one for the younger students and one for the older students.

Students Help Design Playgrounds

The students who would be going to this school were very much involved in determining what play equipment went on the playgrounds. They were asked, if you were to have your dream playground:

  • What do you have now that you would like to have
  • What don’t you have now that you would like to have

The answers included:

  • Aldrich Elem 5-12The “spider” net climbing structure that Lincoln Elementary put in the year before – the kids loved this.
  • Swings. Lincoln Elementary also had very limited space, so they didn’t have any swings due to the clearance needed and Southdale Elementary had swings that the students liked.

The primary project managers at the school looked at different features the playground equipment offered with some very specific activities in mind, such as balancing and upper body strength, and there were certain physical workouts they wanted the students to get as well.

One of the primary reasons ABcreative was chosen for this playground project was the uniqueness of the play equipment in the proposed plan and how it met these criteria. No place in Cedar Falls had equipment like this.

Elements of Play on the Playgrounds

In the younger playground, the equipment was designed to keep the students active, including:

  • Play equipment with lots of climbing elements, a slide plus an Apex climber to help develop strength, balance and coordination and a Rock Crawl Climber to help develop balance, lower body strength and socialization.
  • Saucer swing and traditional 2-Bay swing.

The playground for the older students included:

  • Spaceball net climber where they can exercise “in the cloud,” with plenty of space for children of all ages to climb up, down and side-to-side.
  • Motion elements with the Comet spinner and Kidforce Spinner help children develop balance, coordination and strength.
  • Saucer swing, an accessible swing for one or more students.
  • Apex Elipse Climber, encouraging active play and the development of strength, balance and coordination.

Photo Gallery: 2- to 5-year-old Playground

Safety Surfacing

Aldrich Elem 5-12 SpaceballABcreative worked with the school to do a complete playground, both hard and soft.

Burke Tiles were installed in the playground for the older children, offering an eco-friendly surface that is simple to maintain, extremely durable and wear resistant. And, the tiles offer accessibility for all children to get to the play equipment.

Aldrice 2-5 playgroundFor the younger children’s playground, the school chose to install Playground Grass by ForeverLawn since it stays at a lower temperature than other surfacing. In addition, the artificial turf is easier to maintain, longer lasting and accessible to wheelchairs and other mobility devices. It is the first school in the district with artificial turf.

The students love it, calling it the “playground with the football field.”

The ABcreative Experience

Larry was great to work with. When selecting our top three companies, we asked for revisions to the plan. Larry was always on top of things. He got us the information we needed, he was reliable and dependable.

— Julie Simonson

Larry was easy to work with. We appreciated his down-to-earthiness. He was approachable and made modifications to the plan. All the play equipment went in as he said. We enjoyed working with him.

— Kim Cross, Principal

Photo Gallery: 5- to 12-year-old Playground

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