Playground Brainstorming Featured – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Playground Brainstorming Featured

HWS students who are involved with the Colleges’ community playground initiative recently met with a project manager from Parkitects Inc. and students from the Geneva elementary schools. The children shared their wish lists for the playground to be built by HWS and Geneva community members later this year.

An article in the Finger Lakes Times noted the students were happy to be part of the process. “It’s not like a lot of kids get this opportunity,” 10 year old Morgan Wright was quoted.

The full article follows.


Finger Lakes Times
Chutes and Ladders
Geneva students offer input on lakefront playground site

Heather Swanson • March 9, 2012

GENEVA – Though monkey bars remain a traditional favorite, the city’s Lakefront Playground may include everything from a helix net climber to a double bobble rider.

“We make up some funny names,” admitted Ben Frasier when fifth-grader Jacob Singleton stumbled over the tongue-twisting double bobble rider.

Singleton was among 24 North Street School students participating in a design day Thursday. The kids gave the city input on what types of equipment they would like to see at the park to be built by volunteers at the west end of Lakefront Park this fall.

Frasier, a project manager from Parkitects Inc., is working with the city on the project.

The students are part of the North Street Leaders, a group of third-, fourth- and fifthgraders focused on leadership skills.

“This is great, to have them be a part of this,” said Scott Donnelly, assistant principal at North Street, as he watched the youngsters work.

While their younger counterparts at West Street School were given the chance to draw their ideal playground, the North Street Leaders were divided into teams of five and tasked with a slighter harder assignment: choosing their favorite structures and staying within a budget.

Each of the structures children picked were assigned dollar values of about $1 to $5. They were told to keep their playground within a $100 budget – in reality, the city hopes to raise about $100,000. After the teams thought they’d succeeded, Frasier threw them a curveball.

“A lot of playgrounds today are all connected together,” he said. “All the posts and arches cost money.”

He told them to cut $15 in structures to cover that cost.

“Aww!” one student exclaimed.

Frasier later asked them to make further reductions to cover his own fee.

“And we’re going to have a professional auditor come over here and check the books, so you’d better make sure you’re counting right,” he joked.

While seeking student input isn’t a requirement for the playground, Frasier thought it would be beneficial. Recalling a similar workshop when he was a child, he noted, “I can still remember some of the activities.”

Getting the children excited has the happy side effect of getting parents interested as well, he added.

“For most adults, it’s been a long time since you’ve played,” said Sage Gerling, interim director of the Office of Neighborhood Initiatives. “The students really are the hands-on experts.”

City Recreation Director Janelle Toner also attended Thursday, as did several Hobart and William Smith Colleges students and representatives, including Jeremy Wattles of the Colleges’ Community Engagement Center.

HWS has been helping the city with the project and donated $25,000 toward it.

The Playground Committee plans to incorporate some of the children’s ideas. For Ellie Aliperti, 11,
and Morgan Wright, 10, it’s the helix net climber they’re really hoping to see – although they were just
happy to be asked.

“It’s not like a lot of kids get this opportunity,” Wright said.

“I think that was really cool,” Aliperti added.