Posted on May 15, 2013 by Ewing Philbin
Occasionally, we work on a school or neighborhood project that seems to embody the essence of what we hope to achieve at Ross Recreation: build strong personal relationships that endure; create something lasting and positive; and enhance a spirit of community.
Such was the case with Maria Ching and her PTA Committee at Vallejo Mill Elementary School in Fremont, California. The school had purchased a Landscape Structures playstructure almost twenty years ago and the PTA had considered a replacement structure that would better serve upper grades kids. Maria contacted us and after visiting the playground to discuss project needs and objectives, Ross recommended using the existing playstructure posts and decks that were in excellent condition and adding or replacing components that appealed to older kids, components that promoted upper body strength, balance, and fitness. We developed design options that the committee could review, and finalized a plan for the structure retrofit. Best of all, the plan cost a fraction of the cost of a full playground replacement! To save additional funds, Ross explained the benefits of using volunteers to install the new components. The results were gratifying. In Maria’s words:“Thank you, thank you, Alex, Bob and Ewing at Ross Recreation! This has been an awesome and fun experience overall. It’s been great working with everyone at Ross Recreation from beginning to end. Tom was patient, friendly, and knowledgeable being our technical director on site. We bonded as a community, made strong friendships, had fun, and completed something tangible and wonderful to give to the students and children in the community. This community build was an awesome experience and a legacy. In my humble opinion, it would have been very different, too easy, and way less meaningful to have done it otherwise. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts at Vallejo Mill Elementary!”
Click here to learn more about playground retrofit options.
To learn more about volunteer installations, visit our Construction Services page.
Posted on April 3, 2013 by Ewing Philbin
This week, I asked one of our Ross team members, Jon Bawden, to share his experience with a truly special playground project that our company was fortunate enough to have been involved with. Here, in Jon’s own words, is the story of Athan Downs Playground. ~ Ewing Philbin
“Why do we get up each morning and do what we do for a living? Pragmatically speaking, we probably have bills and a mortgage and a family to feed, but if you’re lucky you might have a job that satisfies at a much deeper and more idealistic level. I certainly consider myself one of a lucky few that fairly regularly has the opportunity to see the benefit my job has on kids, family, and community.
Our team recently designed and installed a very special playground in San Ramon at Athan Downs Park. Athan Downs is designed for kids of all abilities to play together and create memories and friendships often denied to kids with limited mobility, sensory processing disorders, or any of a broad spectrum of disabilities or medical issues. Our team worked with the community through a series of neighborhood meetings to capture elements important to future users such as ramps for wheelchairs, shade, quiet areas for autistic children, and a sand area for the ultimate in tactile play.
On March 21st, Ross Recreation came out with the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. The Down Syndrome Connection works throughout the Bay Area to promote the unique contributions of children and adults with Down Syndrome and to educate the public by fostering inclusive and integrated involvement in local communities. Families from across the Bay Area traveled to San Ramon to be able to share in a truly inclusive community event and to celebrate the opening of this new playground. Landscape Structures was on hand to help celebrate and to photograph the event. If the smiles and laughter of kids of all abilities playing together were the measure of a successful project then I would say Athan Downs is a runaway hit.” ~ Jon Bawden, Ross Recreation Representative
To learn more about the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area, visit their website www.dsconnection.org.
Click here to watch a recent segment that aired on CBS recognizing the unique nature of this playground.
Posted on March 19, 2013 by Ewing Philbin
When I meet with cities and schools to discuss play equipment, I try to initiate a conversation about “the ownership proposition.” What do I mean by that? I mean the shared vision of what owning play equipment should look like over the life of the installation, not simply the initial purchase price. Isn’t that really the measure of performance?
How long will the play equipment last? What will it cost to maintain? How easy and quickly can parts be accessed from the factory? Can structures be easily modified or retrofitted if safety standards change? This is an approach to purchasing analysis known as life costing and is a sound technique for thousands of products, but especially when capital budgets are strained.
At Ross Recreation, we think the ownership proposition should look like this:
1. Expect playstructures to last over twenty years with minimal maintenance cost and strong warranties.
2. Expect the manufacturer’s representative to be well established with a track record of responsiveness and superior customer care.
3. Expect that your equipment can be easily retrofitted and parts made available even after many years of service.
That is the ownership proposition that we at Ross Recreation are prepared to offer you.