The Situation

Independent Schools District 318 is a valued district based in the Grand Rapids area serving over 4,000 students. The mission of District 318 is “Teaching and Learning for Life to Achieve Excellence.” A mission demonstrated in the classroom and on the playground.

The Grand Rapids schools have been working with SafetyFirst since 2011 through a playground maintenance partnership on an annual basis. Grand Rapids is committed to the excellence of its students which is reflected in their attentiveness to the safety and enjoyment of their playgrounds. When they were planning an exciting project to build new elementary schools they wanted to preserve the existing playground equipment, so they turned to the team at SafetyFirst for direction.

The Approach

SafetyFirst believes in preserving safe, existing playground equipment in order to save our customers money while providing an environmentally friendly option. Playground equipment relocation service is not a common service offered in the playground industry but SafetyFirst’s range of playground services makes it a reliable and cost-friendly solution. 

SafetyFirst started by evaluating Grand Rapids’ 3 existing school locations, with a total of 6 play areas, to determine which equipment and parts should be moved to the new location and which should be recycled. We were able to determine exactly what equipment would be beneficial for relocation based on safety inspections and the remaining equipment lifespan.

Based on our in-depth evaluation, we designed each of the play areas for the three schools. We balanced the reused equipment across the sites while supplying and sourcing the necessary materials and equipment to complete Grand Rapids’ new playgrounds.

To give the district administration security knowing that the construction of their buildings and playgrounds were developed in conjunction, SafetyFirst worked directly with the construction manager to plan and create the playgrounds. We covered the playground removal, transportation, assembling, and installation so every step of the new playground relocation was directed and completed by SafetyFirst.

The Outcome

After starting the relocation process with SafetyFirst in June 2020, Grand Rapids District 318 had new playground areas ready for the start of the 2020 school year.

Grand Rapids was able to reuse about 70% of its existing equipment. The reallocated equipment met playground safety standards and had the lifespan to validate the playground removal and installation costs. SafetyFirst ensured every piece of equipment that was reused would ultimately secure the most cost savings for the Grand Rapids school district.

Grand Rapids’ decision to relocate their playground equipment provided new opportunities and benefits including:

  • Saved money by reusing the existing equipment that still held value
  • Used an environmentally friendly process by reusing 70% of the existing equipment and safely recycling all the unused equipment
  • Connected and relied on a single vendor from start to finish through SafetyFirst managing the relationship between the construction company and third-party manufacturers to source equipment and repair parts
  • Enhanced the inclusivity of the playgrounds by designing an accessible structure and using equipment and products that supported ADA compliance
  • Received responsive communication and on-site visits to address any questions or situations throughout the relocation process, including a follow-up visit to look over and check how the equipment and playgrounds were doing 
  • Ongoing playground maintenance and repairs from the company that understands the history of each play area

Independent Schools District 318 chose SafetyFirst because of their existing partnership and unique playground equipment relocation services in order to rebuild playgrounds that would meet the excitement of the returning students.