Thursday, January 19, 2017

School and Community Playgrounds: Focus on Safety Surfacing Options

Our focus this month is on providing our clients with the background and benefits of having a good unitary surfacing, along with ideas and tips that will make the implementation process a successful one.  We also would like to highlight Bethel School District in Eugene, Oregon. 

In the spring of 2016, as part of a district wide effort to improve facilities and grounds, Pat Bradshaw, Bethel S.D. Facilities and Grounds Manager and his team, distributed an RFP to replace old, worn-out tiles for three different elementary school playgrounds and have them replaced with new poured-in-place rubber.  Buell Recreation was awarded the project and completed it during July and August while school was out of session.  Bradshaw is representative of a pro-active manager, who recognizes the importance of safe, accessible playgrounds and how a quality unitary surfacing can save on annual maintenance and operation costs.  The Bethel School District resurfacing projects were funded through bond funds obligated towards district wide improvements. The rewards are clearly evident from three aspects: 1) minimizing liability by having a safe, compliant surfacing; 2) saving in labor maintenance costs and freeing staff to focus on other district needs; 3) play value and aesthetics are enhanced for both kids and playground supervisors. 

Unitary surfacing is defined by its characteristics as being one solid, level surface, typically comprised of poured-in-place rubber, rubber tiles, artificial turf or similar product.  Primary benefits of unitary surfacing include ease of access by individuals with mobility challenges and minimal maintenance when compared to loose fill alternatives such as wood fiber, sand or pea gravel surfacing.  Although initial costs of unitary surfacing are considerably more than loose fill, it's important for managers to recognize the overall value to their organization.  To effectively gain internal support required from district fund managers and key decision makers it takes time and effort to accurately determine a return on investment and communicate that message appropriately.  

Let us know if you have concerns or challenges with playground safety surfacing.  We offer complimentary, no-cost, evaluations of your playgrounds to help determine options and associated costs.  Summer is the best time to undertake resurfacing projects for schools, but often times winter is better for city parks.  If you have more than one playground to surface it can be most cost effective to coordinate the installation efforts and do multiple playgrounds at one time. 

 For more information contact

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Success Story: Working With Buell Recreation

We have found that sharing our customer success stories can demonstrate how Buell Recreation can deliver in the real world, with real people.  We strive not just to build playgrounds, but build relationships....

Here is the story of Fammatre Elementary School...

"Working with Buell Recreation was a wonderful experience. We decided in October to put in a playground for our elementary school and we were told by our district that it had to be done either during the Christmas break or in the summer.  It had to be times when the children were not present. For several reasons, we needed it to be the earlier date of December.  

"To get information, designs, approvals, quotes and tie down all the necessary pieces of information would seem like an impossible task to do within the span of 12 would have been with any other company.  Rachel at Buell Recreation was so responsive.  Emails were answered in a timely manner. Quotes were complete and accurate. 

The help in "marketing materials" that provided the visual of the proposed purchase was a huge part of getting approvals quickly.  Rachel was even standing by her email when we were having our final "pick this", "tweak that", "what if we added that" meeting with the school administration.  Being able to get the immediate answers during the meeting meant approvals happened right away - no need to wait and then try to regroup the dispersed decision makers.  

Buell Recreation, Fammatre Elementary School playground
Fammatre Elementary School - San Jose, CA

"Buell treated us and our project like we were the only thing happening at their facility right then; which I am sure it wasn't.  Different people could look up information when our assigned salesperson was out to lunch or had already gone home for the day.  They were extremely knowledgeable and helpful every step of the way.

"Buell treated us and our project the same way that I hope my staff treats our customers. They were an excellent reminder of the value good customer service can bring to the table. We now have a beautiful new playground for our kids and a visual reminder to our parents why we work so hard on our fundraising efforts.  It could not have happened without the help of Buell Recreation."

- Elisa Spurlin,   Fammatre Home and School Club Treasurer

Click here for more customer testimonials.
Click here to view our on-line project gallery.
April 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Playground and Outdoor Classroom

Playground AND Classroom
BCI Burke Is Reinventing the Outdoor Classroom

Discover a whole new way to learn and play with these elements incorporated into your playground design.  Click Here for BCI Burke's Outdoor Classroom

Fitness Play, Motion Play, Tactile & Auditory Play, Social Play, Early Play Centers, Ground Level Play Events and Imaginative Play. Provide a variety of separate areas for Shade, Rest and Age Appropriate Separate Play, Accessible Safety Surfacing, and Rest Areas. 

Let the professionals at Buell Recreation assist you in creating a custom playground design that fits the needs of your community.  Call 800-266-1250 or email for more information. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How To Fund Your Playground

Grant Opportunities and PTO Fundraising Resources

There's no question your student body is in need of a new playground, but just how long will they have to wait to get it? This is a problem many schools and supporters are challenged with when it comes to funding a new playground.  Buell Recreation works closely with PTO's and school personnel in the planning process, fundraising support and beyond.  We specialize in creating playgrounds that are specific to your unique needs, safe and appropriate for any age group, fitness oriented, inclusive and fun!

We have put together a useful list of resources that are available and help to speed up the funding process.  See the article below for more information.

playground grants, play equipment resources, Northern California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah

Now available from BCI Burke, a complete and current database of Federal, State and Private Foundation grants available to schools and non-profit organizations including those with religious affiliations in the eight categories listed below: 
  • After-School
  • At-Risk/Character
  • Community Involvement/Volunteerism
  • Early Childhood
  • General Education
  • Health/PE
  • Family Services
  • Facilities/Maintenance


playground grants, play equipment resources, Northern California, Fundraising Buell Recreation
The Burke Funds for Fun® Play Kit Advantages:

  • Simplicity -- Easily organize your fundraiser, create documents and keep in touch with donors. 
  • Time Saving -- Use the Play Kit's fun and easy-to-use templates of essential documents. 
  • Availability -- Access your Play Kit information from any computer with Internet access 24/7!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Things That Will Instantly Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

We can have some fun with this! Didn't see yours on the list? Let's keep it it in the comments!

 1.  Eating a graham cracker or vanilla wafer.

 2.  Sleeping outside under the stars.

 3.  Riding in the back of a pickup truck.

 4.  Jumping off the swing.

5.  Riding the grocery cart all the way to the car.

6.  Playing catch in the back yard.

7.  Making a paper airplane.

8.  Catching a firefly.

 9.  Holding a frog in your hands. 

10. Playing a board game.

11. Flying a kite.

12. Packing yourself a brown bag lunch.

13. Floating the river on an inner tube.

14. Eating ice cream in a cone.

15. Sticking your head out of the car...while sitting in the back seat!

Brought to you by Buell Recreation Park and Playground Products
Working Hard to Help You Play
Working Hard To Help You Play!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Firefighters Honored With Firetruck Themed Play Equipment

When I was a teenager growing up in Oregon, summer fire watch in the mountains near my home was a very important job!  An even more important job was to be the firefighter who risked their life to keep our communities safe from these disasters.  So when our manufacturer, BCI Burke, committed their resources to designing this realistic firetruck themed play equipment it seemed like a perfect fit for any community park, fire station or school. What a great way to honor the fireman and enable the children to imagine themselves in their fire gear, slide down the pole, climb the ladder and promote this valuable profession!  
Playground Professional magazine featured our firetruck in a past publication. Please visit their link for more information...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Buell Recreation is Celebrating Burke's 95 Year Anniversary - Savings up to 40% on the newest, coolest Burke built playgrounds!

Celebrating 95 Years With BCI Burke - Savings up to 40% Off

Exclusive 95 year Anniversary Sale! Help us celebrate 95 years of creating quality park and recreation equipment and save up to 40% on the NEWEST, COOLEST Burke built playgrounds. If your school, park or community is looking at purchasing new play equipment, NOW is the time to get in on these great savings from our manufacturer.  Click on the link above to see the full promotion and email today for a FREE quote.