A Modern Design for All

Bringing play and design into the 21st Century

A Modern Design for All

Birchview Elementary School

Plymouth, Minn.

Built in 1969, Birchview Elementary School recently went through a remodel to bring its design aesthetic into the 21st Century. Along with the updates to both the inside and outside of the building was the installation of a new, more modern-looking playground structure.

“The design of the new playground enhanced the look of the building’s modern aesthetic,” said Sam Fredrickson, principal of Birchview Elementary School. “Plus, we were able to pick colors to tie into the colors that are found inside and out of the school.”

Playground products shown in video may not be appropriate for every age group. Playsystems shown in video are for demonstration purposes only. Product configurations may vary.

Smart Design

“When we were choosing equipment, a big consideration for us was how many kids could fit on the playground,” explained Sam. “During recesses, we could have as many as 100 kids on the playground.”

A playground with a modern aesthetic that accommodates an entire classroom? The obvious choice was Smart Play®: Venti®. And after Sam and his committee all agreed, they presented it to the school district and PTA to get their buy in.

The fact that Smart Play: Venti packs 20 activities—from nets and slides to belts and climbers—into its design was seen as a major advantage to the school district and PTA. Even more, they loved that the compact size required less space and surfacing material than typical playgrounds.

Smart Play: Venti, designed for kids ages 5 to 12, is not only designed using a smart use of materials, but it provides challenges that promote physical development and strategic thinking. And with multiple hangout spots, students can take a break and connect with their classmates.

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Play Activities for All Ages and Abilities

The Smart Play: Venti playstructure was open to students in October 2015, and was met with a lot of excitement. And since its opening, the new playground has been a hit with kindergarteners to students in grade 5.

“The anticipation for the new playground was great! The students used the nearby net structure as stadium seating to watch the demo of existing equipment as well as the installation of the new playground.” Sam Fredrickson Principal, Birchview Elementary School

“The Smart Play structure is definitely getting more play than the older equipment,” explained Lisa Rocca, paraprofessional at Birchview Elementary School. “The younger students are really getting the hang of the activities, and the older kids are still finding new ways to use the equipment.”

Birchview Elementary School stadium seating

With 20 activities found throughout the Smart Play: Venti playstructure, students of all ages and abilities can find something they enjoy. The favorites that are emerging after nearly a full school year of play are the Cargo Net, Belt Hammock, Square Loop Incline Climber and Double Swoosh™ Poly Slide.

Even the students with special needs are able to play among their peers on the Smart Play structure.

“There are definitely more options for the students with special needs,” said Sarah Markham, special education paraprofessional at Birchview Elementary School. “Students with mobility devices still require some assistance, but they are able to access various activities. And students with developmental disabilities have found unique ways to use the activities to fit their needs.”

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Choices for Play and Learning

The playground has been open since October 2015, and the feedback from the school and surrounding community has all been positive.

“The playground has become who we are,” said Sam. “People are always using it—during school hours, after hours and on the weekends.”

Even more, Sam has noticed that the Smart Play: Venti playstructure is getting played with differently.

“The playground offers many more choices for play,” explained Sam. “And offering more choices for the students is playing out inside as well. We’re looking at a whole host of ways to bring variety to the students’ days.”