Hard work on the playground

BOURBON — “It was a hot time in the old town tonight” last Saturday morning as administrators, teachers, parents, community volunteers, and students perspired together constructing the new modular playground unit at Triton Elementary School.
A total of 62 people turned out to complete the project in five hours or so. A “community build” is what this effort is called by Rich Sinclair, owner of Sinclair Recreation, the Indiana and Michigan manufacturer’s representative for Game Time Equipment, Inc.
He and his northern Indiana sales representative, Matt Podlin of Bremen, were on hand with tools, a backhoe and expertise to supervise the ground preparation and assembly of the new unit. The only finishing touches left for the next day involve pouring the concrete to solidify the foundation and spreading the engineered wood fiber safety surfacing under the unit. Since Sinclair is a certified playground installer and inspector, the community build will be certified as safe for children.
The volunteers included the golf and football teams of Triton Jr./Sr. High School, who started their morning by digging the holes for the stanchions. As the morning went on, modular elements were added, including tunnel up crawl tube, two zip slides (with the maximum allowable level of descent to enhance the excitement of young sliders), a ridge climber, a 90-degree tunnel bridge with outward-slanting walls, a gizmo panel with small manipulatives which can be used from either side of the tower wall, and a shaded nature table with benches under the unit which can be used for eating snacks, doing crayon rubbings, etc.
Game Time, in business since 1929, is the oldest manufacturer of playground equipment in the U.S., and the largest in the world. Sinclair Recreation is also well established, having constructed playgrounds for the Warsaw Parks Department, the Potawatomi Park and Zoo in South Bend, and Fort Wayne Community Schools, to name a few.
“We will complete about 150 playground constructions a year,” said Sinclair, “of which 30 will be community builds.” His company serves schools, parks, churches, homeowners associations, YMCAs, etc.
When asked why Triton would want to do a community build instead of just having the modular unit professionally installed, principal Jeremy Riffle said: “There are two reasons. First, the community can feel pride of achievement in something they helped build. Second, it saved the school corporation about $5,000 of the approximately $25,000 cost of the project.”