One of the most frequent questions we receive is "how much does a new school playground cost?"
Schools need to ask this question about commercial playground equipment because schools want to provide the best possible playground experience regardless of their budget. This article will explore some of the costs associated with a new school playground and help you determine the right budget for your project.
The Importance of School Playgrounds in Georgia and Florida
Playgrounds provide many benefits for children and communities. They are essential to physical, social, cognitive, and emotional development in children. Schools utilize playgrounds to encourage free, unstructured play so children can explore the world around them and interact with children of all ages and abilities.
A well-designed school playground encourages children to develop healthy, active habits that last a lifetime.
A well-designed school playground can help children stay active and perform better in class.
With so many benefits, many schools in Georgia and Florida are considering new or updated playgrounds for their students. If you've never worked on a playground project, the cost of commercial playground equipment may be unknown to you. Here is a breakdown of the cost of commercial playground equipment, and how to fund your purchase.
1. Know How Many Children Will Use the Playground
We tell customers to consider the number of children who will use the equipment at one time. For a large school, this number could be 50, 60, or more children at once.
You should budget around $1,000 per child for playground equipment. The average cost of playground equipment for schools is between $15,000 and $50,000. If you are looking for a larger play structure with inclusive (accessible) features or a custom design, set a budget closer to $150,000.
Dominica Recreation Products Will Help you Select the Right Products For Your School Playground Budget
2. There's More to the Budget Than Playground Equipment
Work with your local Dominica Recreation Products expert to determine the complete budget for your project. Here are some of the things to consider when planning your budget.
Playground equipment is usually the largest expense. Select high-quality products from a reputable manufacturer like GameTime to make sure the playground will last for decades. A well-made playground system will account for 50-60% of your total budget.
About 20-35% of your playground budget will be spent on installing the playground equipment. Dominica Recreation Products uses GameTime-certified installers to ensure the equipment is installed properly and according to standards.
You can save some money on this step by using one or two of our certified installers to assist with a volunteer or community build. Your school and community can take part in a fulfilling project with our experts' help to train and assist your volunteers.
Preparing the site
A good portion of the playground budget will be spent on getting the site ready for installation. If you are removing an old playground or require a lot of earth-moving or site grading, this can be a high cost. You also need to budget for things like drainage, playground surfacing, landscaping, or fencing.
Plan For Site Preparation and Equipment Installation in Your School Playground Budget
Depending on your site and its distance from our manufacturer, your shipping and freight costs can make up 5-15% of your budget. Dominica Recreation Products can help you determine the cost of shipping to your project site so you can make it part of your budget planning.
3. Paying For School Playground Equipment
Another question we frequently hear is, "how can we find funding for our school playground project?" Here are some ideas:
Budgets for schools and school districts are often stretched thin. But often, school districts will have some funds they can contribute to a new playground project. Even if the school or district can’t fund the entire project, they may make a contribution or matching donation.
Encourage your parents and teachers to start a fundraising effort to raise money toward the purchase of new school playground equipment. It may be difficult for a PTA to raise the entire budget during a single school year. Consider what you can raise in a year and discuss building your new play area in stages, adding freestanding play equipment, or refurbishing an existing play area.
Many organizations provide grant funding for school playgrounds. Some estimates suggest over $3 billion in funding available for playgrounds to help children stay active. GameTime offers a funding guide with a listing of hundreds of grant opportunities. You can request a free copy here.
Ask local businesses to donate to your school playground and offer them a chance to help participate in a community build.
An Investment That Pays For Itself
When you plan a school playground, you’re making a financial investment in commercial playground equipment. You're also investing in the health and well-being of current and future students.
If you have questions about planning, designing, or budgeting a new playground for your school, contact your Dominica Recreation Products representative. We can help you every step of the way and make this a fun, easy, and rewarding experience for you and your school.