IRHS students design elementary-school playground

Date Published: 
March 31, 2017

Three Indian River High School seniors have taken the lead on designing a new playground at Georgetown Elementary School.

When the elementary school’s occupational therapist, Sara Heinicke, wanted to add more accessible playground equipment, she enlisted IRHS students to create one piece. When the budget blossomed with several local donors, the project expanded to a full remodel.

Samuel Rojas, Richard Parrett and Sara Saylor designed a senior project that will “leave a lasting impact on the community,” Heinicke said.

The playground pieces are designed for more inclusive play: a “jam shack” with percussion instruments; slides with broad, easily-accessible staircases; therapeutic swings; a standing sandbox; and translation panels with English-to-Spanish and American Sign Language alphabet.

Children with limited leg movement can build arm strength on the “Pull Along” ladder, by laying down and pulling themselves along a horizontal slide. Two backhoe diggers allow kids to dig in the sand, from either sitting or standing positions.

That allows maximum interaction between students with limited mobility and those without.

The Indian River School District Board of Education has approved the master site plan and commended the students and entire design team.

“Those Indian River kids have done a good job,” said IRSD Supervisor of Buildings & Grounds Joe Booth. “The kids worked on the placement of the equipment and the layout. It’s really impressive.”

The equipment, surfacing and other prep work are estimated to come under the $70,000 budget.

Installation will occur in May.