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Budgeting & Cost
Schools & Education
20 May 2019
You need a new playground for your school, a structure that grows the children’s development and skills, is inclusive and keeps them safe.
You know what you want, but unsure how much a school playground design and equipment will exactly cost. The entire project cost could fall between $10,000 to $500,000, depending on a range of factors — from the size of the site, to the playground equipment design and features you and your students want. Regardless of the cost, there needs to be value for money spent and it must enhance the appeal of your school. Tall order?
Not for adventure+. We are specialists in designing school playgrounds using outdoor play equipment that is fun and development focused. We know that the cost and access to timely information can play a big part in your decision to choose a playground supplier.
This article aims to provide guidelines on how much a new playground can cost.
Note: Pricing below is indicative supply and installed pricing only for actual play units. Despatch, delivery and/or travel charges are additional to the prices shown. Also remember to include the cost of site works, edging and undersurfacing in your budget.
Small playgrounds are typically found in low use areas or may be an addition to an existing play space. It contains a small play unit such as a climbing cube, swing or rocker, suitable for a few children only. A small playground can cost less than $25,000 to design and install, doesn’t need much space and is a fantastic way to use an underutilised space in the schoolyard.
An average school playground, either for junior or senior school, can start from $25,000 or go up to $50,000. Approximately, five to ten playground platforms are included in a medium sized playground.
A larger school playground can hold more equipment and can cater to two different age groups i.e. juniors and seniors. A large sized playground system typically costs between $50,000 to $80,000.
The playground design can include more customisation of cladding and architectural features. However, this works best for a larger than a 10-platform unit, or a combination of traditional steel or timber equipment and rope play.
The supersized is for the adventure lover and for schools with a lot of room. A budget of this size will allow you to explore heights and install outdoor play towers like the Winchester below, standing 6 metres tall, or spread out wide like the Sheffield.
The cost of a playground depends on many factors, including the site or space available, which influences how much playground equipment is installed. Obviously, the larger the site, the more equipment it can contain. A playground can cost anywhere from $10,000 at the lower end to $500,000 at the higher end.
Related site works also need to be taken into account. For example, all playgrounds require some type of edging and undersurfacing. Some sites need to be excavated or retaining walls installed, which all increases the overall expense.
Rubber undersurfacing can add significantly to the total price, sometimes costing as much as the new equipment itself. Mulch or sand is a good option where initial outlay needs to be reduced.
We will discuss these factors and more below.
The physical size of play equipment and the play area itself has the biggest influence on the cost of a playground. In simple terms: the more play equipment, the more budget required, and the more associated works such as undersurfacing you will need.
Playground Features and Styles
Special features and themed equipment can impact the cost of a playground. Custom elements, such as ramps, bridges, special panels or materials can increase the budget. However, with these features you also get a much more attractive playground, creating a much more complete look.
Site Preparation & Demolition
If the suggested site for your playground isn’t level or needs clearing, excavation can bring it to a state that is suitable. You may also need to demolish any existing structures. Site preparation must be a factor when you run the numbers for your playground project.
When choosing the undersurfacing material, it’s valuable to compare the initial cost against the cost of ongoing maintenance. Rubber surfaces, for example, require more upfront investment but far less maintenance than the alternatives.
At adventure+ we recommend having some kind of border to help contain the playground undersurfacing. This helps keep the playground neat and well-maintained.
Sun protection is an important part of playground safety across the country and as a result, all new playgrounds should be adequately sheltered from the harsh afternoon sun. If your playground is not set under established trees, sails and other shade structures should be included in your cost estimate.
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Below we have included a table of indicative budgets for a playground, with the percentage of what is commonly spent on different elements within a play space. Of course, this will differ from project to project but may help in your planning process.
You need to consider how many children will be using the play area or areas. Schools differ in size, with some only having as few as 50 children, to schools and establishments which have many hundreds. With schools that have a large number of pupils, say 250-500, it may be the case that you’ll need more than 1 play area. You may also be looking to have larger play areas with more equipment in them to accommodate the needs of all the children.
At 500-750 pupils, a more comfortable number is 3 play areas. These can be split into different types of play area designed with specific age brackets in mind. There could for example be one area designated as a junior play area, one for seniors and one which could be a multi-age area. In an ideal scenario, a school playground or council play space would have separate equipment for younger and older children. However, in some cases, only a single piece of equipment will be possible due to budget and space restrictions, so the equipment will need to be suitable for children of varying ages. We design playground equipment to suit all range groups and can even design equipment to suit multiple age groups. Having age appropriate playground equipment to ensure maximum safety and fun. Considering the age groups you wish to cater for should be done in the initial stages of planning.
With so many factors to consider when estimating the cost of a playground, a great place to start is to contact a playground specialist. Here at adventure+, we have over 35 years of experience creating safe, enjoyable and fun playground experiences for thousands of children in Australia. We will help you decide on the right size, equipment and other features for your new playground, making sure there’s value for every dollar spent.
Our team can create a playground suited to different budgets by assessing your needs and creating a custom playground solution. Call our team on 1300 237 587 or email us with your inquiry.