New green playground at New Orleans' Bethune Elementary School offically opens

Environmentally Friendly Play Space Funded by Better Than Ezra Foundation Features Playworld Systems Equipment

LEWISBURG, PA (March 22, 2011) – Playworld Systems®, a leading manufacturer of imaginative playground equipment, today announced the opening of a new playground at Bethune Elementary in Orleans Parish which features the company’s PVC-free equipment. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, March 29 at 2:00 p.m. at Bethune Elementary. The play space funded by the Better Than Ezra Foundation, a non-profit founded by the popular band that is committed to the renewal of the structural and cultural heritage of New Orleans and southern Louisiana, was constructed specifically for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students.

Planet Recess, a leading distributor of recreation products and services in Louisiana and Mississippi, delivered the equipment and directed the volunteers during the community build in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, an area still struggling post-Hurricane Katrina. The Better Than Ezra Foundation considers establishing the green playground as a crucial next step in their community rebuilding efforts and a meaningful way to reward and enhance the dedication, successful test scores and spirits of the school’s students and teachers.

“We were really inspired and impressed by the hard work and excitement of the kids, the teachers and principal Mary Haynes-Smith,” says Kevin Griffin, lead singer of rock band Better Than Ezra. “We believed it was important to have educational features built into the playground such as interactive music learning and math stations. Playworld Systems’ early  childhood equipment encourages music development and learning in a fun and compelling manner.”

The playground includes equipment from Playworld Systems’ Challengers product line, designed to help young children learn the lifelong lessons of play. The equipment in place at Bethune Elementary will encourage students to develop cognitively, physically and socially.

“It is gratifying to see our equipment at Bethune Elementary,” said Ian Proud, research manager for Playworld Systems. “All children deserve a safe and exciting play area and the Better Than Ezra Foundation has done a superb job of delivering the uplifting and empowering benefits of play to the children in Orleans Parish.”

The new playground includes several slides, a beanstalk climber, sand and water table, bongo-style drums, and a trike path. Educational panels help children identify shapes and colors. The Treasure Tumble panel encourages discovery, supports eye/hand coordination and features a cylinder filled with plastic beads and larger plastic objects to find, including yellow stars, red hearts and green clovers.

The play equipment at this new playground is PVC-free, which further enhances the sustainability of the playground.  Playworld Systems has made a PVC-free pledge and as a result it has eliminated 99.999 percent of PVCs from its products through the use of Eco-Armor®, the company’s durable, thermoplastic polyethylene (PE) coating. PE coatings like Eco-Armor average a 38 percent lower carbon footprint than PVC coatings, and unlike PVC, are not associated with the creation of dioxins during their production or if burned.


About Playworld Systems, Inc.


Playworld Systems, a third-generation family-owned company headquartered in Lewisburg, Pa., has been a leader in imaginatively designed and customized commercial recreation and play equipment for 40 years. With the belief that The World Needs Play®, Playworld Systems creates equipment that brings the joy of play to people of every age through such innovative product lines as ENERGI™, LifeTrail® Advanced Wellness System, Playworld®, PlayDesigns®, NEOS®, and Origins™. Playworld Systems has invested significant resources to measurably reduce its carbon footprint, from eliminating PVCs to enhancing its waste management and recycling programs. In fact, Playworld Systems is the first major U.S. playground manufacturer to remove 99.999 percent of PVC from its products. 

The company has received numerous awards throughout its 40 years, including two International Industrial Design Excellence Awards, a gold medal from International Design magazine, two News Directors’ Choice Awards on Early Childhood, and the Pennsylvania Governors’ Award for Safety Excellence. Along with these awards, Playworld Systems was a consultant to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board). For more information, visit PlayworldSystems.com.

About Planet Recess
Planet Recess is a leading distributor of recreational products and services in Louisiana and Mississippi.  For more than 14 years, the company has been helping to build smarter and greener playgrounds.  For more information go to: www.planetrecess.com.  


Media Contact:
Jennifer Leckstrom
jleckstrom@rosecomm.com
215-681-0770