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How much does a school playground cost?

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.

These are some factors to consider when budgeting for a playground.

Size of the site

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. Again, 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. All these factors need to be considered when building a new playground.

So what is the actual cost of building a playground? We’ve included some options and estimates below.

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 sized playground

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.

Climbing Cube

Range: spectrum+

Price Range – installed: $10,000 – $15,000

Dalton Play Unit

Range: spectrum+

Price Range – installed: $20,000 – $25,000

Medium sized playground

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.

Holiston Play Unit

Range: spectrum+

Price Range – installed: $35,000 – $45,000

Briarhill Play Unit

Range: symmetry+

Price Range – installed: $35,000 – $45,000

Large sized playground

A larger school playground can hold more equipment and cater to two different age groups i.e. juniors and seniors. A large sized playground system can cost from $50,000 to $80,000.

The playground design can include more customisation of cladding and architectural features. However, this typically would be larger than a 10-platform unit, or a combination or a traditional steel or timber equipment and rope play.

Sanderson Play Unit

Range: spectrum+

Price Range – installed: $50,000 – $60,000

Fernhurst Play Unit

Range: symmetry+

Price Range – installed: $70,000 – $80,000

Supersized playground

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 tower with slides like the Winchester below, standing 6 metres tall, or spread out wide like the Sheffield.

Sheffield Play Unit

Range: spectrum+

Price Range – installed: $80,000 – $90,000

Winchester Tower Play Unit

Range: spectrum+

Price Range – installed: $100,000 – $110,000

Custom or standard playground

The style and configuration of the equipment can also have an impact on the cost of the playground. The traditional looking playground equipment will generally cost less, however, when you add extras like large roofs, cladding and custom elements, the cost will increase.

Overall, a better outcome is achieved by creating a customised playground. They’re designed to meet specific needs and can help differentiate your school from others. With a custom-designed playground, you can also make the space inclusive for and accessible to children of all abilities. You can add ramps to accommodate wheelchairs or install specialised equipment for kids with sensory challenges.

Number of Playground Users

A final factor in creating your ideal playground is the number and type of users who will use it. If your school is in a high-density area, the playground will need to be larger and contain more equipment than a smaller school.

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.

Having a small playground for too many users will most likely lead to overcrowding. This in turn will lead to split play times, frustration and safety issues.

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.

Creating an accessible playground that allows children of all abilities to enjoy the benefits of the play area means some customisation and adding constructions such as ramps. This does mean that there will be an extra investment into making the playground accessible to all. However, it also means that the school is truly able to provide complete play facilities to all its pupils.

With so many factors to consider when estimating the cost of a playground, it is best to consult with specialists. 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.

Ready for a consultation?

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.

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