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Playground Safety and Design/Child care playground fence for 3-5 year olds

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Question
Bob,
I would appreciate it if you could help me out.  I am a director of a child care center.  I am taking a course right now and we have to create our dream playground using a $50,000 grant.  I am working on figuring out the cost for a fence for a 1500 square foot playground.  This is big enough to serve 20 children 3-5 years old, correct?  It will need to meet NAEYC and PA STARS requirements.
I appreciate any advice you can give me.
Thank you,
Mindy

Answer
Mindy, depending on where you live and what you local daycare association requirements are? The 1500 sq. ft. area would be the minimum area required for 20 children at 75sq.ft per child. As for the fence, chain-link would be the most reasonable and you can probably figure $10 to $15 a linear ft. if installed by a contractor, again depending on where you live. You also need to figure in the cost for a building permit for the fence and any major site work. In most areas a permit for the actual equipment is not required. Municipalities do not want to take on any liability for this type of installation. As for the design of the play area, I would not include any swings as the required foot print for two swings would eat up a large portion of your space. Also, if you could figure the labor to install the equipment and the fence, as a "Community Build Project", with parents providing the majority of the required labor force. That would free up more of the budget for equipment and more numerous play opportunities. Keep in mind any really good functioning play space has all the elements, hard surface for balls, trikes and wet days, opportunities for climbing, sliding, etc. and creative /imaginative play. Plus open green space for running, tag, chasing,ball play and connecting children to a more pleasing and natural space. The really good play spaces simply provide a variety of opportunity for the user to exercise their body and mind. Good luck, Bob

Playground Safety and Design

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Bob Meihaus

Expertise

I can provide experienced answers, options, solutions and personal opinion on almost any topic concerning children`s playgrounds residential or commercial. Including questions on design, construction, maintenance, groundcover, accesiblity and most importantly safety.

Experience

For 23 years owner of custom design and build playground company. Over that time designed and built thousands of residential and commercial play structures.

Organizations
Certified Safety Inspector and member ASTM committees on playground safety for commercial and residential play areas.

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