58 West Virginia Schools Outdoor Classrooms

Play Mart distributor Safe At Play equips 58 schools with outdoor classrooms.

While we at Play Mart love to play, we are equally passionate about learning. We make top-quality playground equipment for children to let loose and have fun, and we also have an extensive line of outdoor classroom products. Even before the recent pandemic, researchers at the University of Berkeley acknowledged the incredible benefits of teaching outdoors. In the post-Covid world, outdoor classrooms are becoming even more popular. Public school districts, private and parochial schools, daycare centers, and others are embracing the opportunity to move some classroom experiences outdoors.

A 58-facility public school district embraces outdoor classrooms.

The administrators at Kanawha County School District (KCSD) in West Virginia know first-hand the benefits of outdoor learning, so they recently reached out to one of our professional installers to outfit 58 of their schools with outdoor classrooms. Wayne Maynard from Play it Safe, one of our trusted distributors, was the lead on this project. He worked directly with the district to provide the best customer service in the industry. Previous projects with other school districts and daycare centers in the area gave Wayne and his company a phenomenal reputation, both for expertise in playground equipment installation and quality product selection. As a result, KCSD knew to contact Play it Safe for a smooth installation and end result that would bring their vision to life.

Wayne has extensive experience with playground installation and outdoor classroom design, so he recognizes quality when he sees it. Our quality and support are what initially drew him to Play Mart products. “The way they make their products is really what is attractive to me,” Wayne says. Our use of Recycled Structural Plastic particularly draws him. In addition, he adds, “the end product is very sustainable. It’s going to last; it’s something I can take to my customers and I don’t have to worry about callbacks. They make an excellent product.” No installer wants to have complaints from unhappy customers down the line, so he chooses Play Mart products which give him peace of mind that his customers will be satisfied for years to come.

Choosing the right seating, tables, and storage for outdoor classrooms.

Outdoor Classroom ChalkboardTo get this massive project underway, Wayne met with Allen, the director of purchasing for Kanawha County Schools, to decide which products best suited their needs. They sat down with a catalog of more than 40 outdoor classroom products and discussed which pieces worked best for each school. Play Mart is a one-stop shop to make a complete outdoor classroom, with products ranging from outdoor musical instruments to garbage cans and everything in between.

Since each project is unique, the exact equipment chosen for each site was different according to the particular needs of that location. Most of the classrooms were added at elementary schools (Kindergarten through 5th grade), though several were also installed in middle and high schools in the county. While outdoor classroom seating, chalkboards, and tables may not be as exciting as our Castle Court or Tuscany Village playsets, any educator knows they are foundational for the classroom. After all, the primary aim of a school, like the 58 in the Kanawha district, is for children to learn! That’s why Wayne and Allen picked out a variety of practical outdoor classroom furniture that would meet the needs of each elementary, middle, and high school involved. Allen was excited to incorporate our magnetic chalkboards, Mushroom Pod seating, and craft tables from our Nature of Early Play line that he knew would lead to students engaged in learning. These items were complemented by practical items like sun shades and storage sheds.

ADA Craft TableThe initial contract with Kanawha County Schools began in April 2020, and by August 2020 the first steps of the installations began. Because of the scale of the project, this is a multi-year endeavor currently about 70% complete. The past several years have proven especially difficult with the supply-chain issues we have all experienced. However, Wayne has done a remarkable job minimizing its impact on his customers. While delivery on some of KCSD’s products has been delayed, Wayne ensured administrators were fully informed each step of the way. Some materials incurred price changes during the course of the project, but Wayne stayed true to his contract and KCSD never saw any of these price changes passed on to them. Despite the current challenges facing suppliers and installers, this project is coming along nicely and the staff at KCSD have given nothing but positive feedback about their experience so far.

Quality outdoor classrooms start with quality products.

Storage ShedBetween all 58 school locations, about 20,000 children will be learning at Play-Mart-equipped outdoor classrooms across the county. Many more thousands of children will experience the joy of outdoor learning for decades to come because of Play Mart’s dedication to quality. “What works for Play Mart is the simplicity of their product. I see a lot of playgrounds that are 10-15 years old that are just dilapidated, they’re falling apart, and you can’t get replacement parts for them,” Wayne says. “People call me to come out and look at their equipment, and if the playground is 12-15 years old, I won’t be able to get parts to replace it.”

“You can’t bandage this stuff and take a chance on a kid getting hurt.” He knows that children and educators deserve better. While other companies may have more “trendy” equipment, it is much harder to maintain and replace the unique components as they wear out. We focus on making the best versions of playground and classroom equipment styles that have stood the test of time.

This is a multi-million dollar project, but our distributors like Play it Safe service customers both big and small. Play Mart believes quality education should be within reach for every child, so we take pride in all projects, whether single-site or district-wide. The students in Kanawha County Schools are reaping the benefits of getting outside and adding a new dimension to learning with their new outdoor classrooms. Don’t let your children miss out on these benefits. Let Play Mart and our team of installers bring your students’ education into the great outdoors!

Share this:

Recent Articles


"Play Mart Inc. is truly the company you want to do business with when looking for commercial grade playground equipment.

Lesson learned: not all playground equipment is compatible with other equipment. Our HOA had a Play Mart set that was purchased in 2005 it was needing to be refurbished. Ryan Williams contacted me right away asking what he could do to help. Records hadn’t been kept so I was having difficulty finding what we had and what we could do. After sending pictures from my phone, Ryan took over giving us the original design blueprint! A detailed report on what we had and what needed to be replaced was soon in my hands.

We were elated to learn that some of our stuff was still under warranty! Options of what could be done and what must be done to ensure the safety of our children were outstanding! We were so pleased that the nightmare of searching for playground equipment was now over! The equipment is made in the USA too.

While we wait for delivery we can’t thank Ryan Williams enough for the care he took in making sure that our playground is safe! They also offer installation if you need that! Everything ships with detailed installation instructions like a picture book! Thank You Play Mart and Ryan for all of your professional help!"

Jeanette Bowen

"I'm not sure whether the kids would have caused damage to the playset at some point, but the playground survived the hurricane. Your RSP™ is amazing."

Tim H. Gateway Services Community Development District

Ft Myers, FL

“I would just like to let you know Play Mart did a wonderful job on the packing/shipping and installation instructions. We have installed almost every manufacturer in the market and your company is the most installation friendly we have done in years.”

Playground Installation Crew


“The contractor who assembled the set told me it was his first experience with recycled material in play sets and he was very impressed. He also told me it was very well packaged and user friendly for assembly.

It looks first class and blends in well with the wooded area surrounding our church. We like the fact we can accommodate so many kids with a set this size.”

Bruce P.

Topeka, KS

“This is cooler than big kids stuff!”

5 Year Old Child

Topeka, KS

“Congratulations on your extensive and impressive exhibit of your playground products. I was most impressed. If I were a child, I would spend a lot of time in the music section of your marvelous array of enticing things to do. But on the other hand, I could easily be enticed to the many other play opportunities for play and learning.

It is blatantly obvious that you have put a lot of careful thought into developing your engaging products for children. Congratulations and thank you for the tour of your exhibit at the trade show.”

Matthew Evans, FASLA Senior Landscape Architect & Horticulturist

US Capitol, Washington, DC

“It gives me great pleasure to be able to write a letter on behalf of Play Mart, Inc. On two different occasions in recent years, Play Mart constructed playground equipment on our school property. Play Mart representatives went out of their way to meet with the school playground committee so that we fully understand our options and the cost. We have been delighted with the equipment that Play Mart representatives recommended for our students. It is age appropriate and safe. We have had to make two minor repairs, which were quickly taken care of by the company.
In the process building the playground, we were very interested in using recycled materials. Availability of this via Play Mart was a big reason why we choose this company. Play Mart worked with us in obtaining exactly what we wanted. We were very pleased with the construction timeline and the value for the price. When we wanted to add more equipment, Play Mart was most helpful and made the changes cost effective for us. Our students spend many happy hours enjoying the playground.

We have been very happy with the entire project. It is with great satisfaction I write this letter on behalf of the company and their employees.”

Sister Laverne K., School Principal

Newark, DE

“We continue to be so pleased with our playscape! As soon as we open the door in preparation for outside play, the children head straight for the playscape. The teachers so enjoy watching the students play some of their favorite games which include: Pirate Ship (they all crowd on top of the playscape sailing off for adventure of the high seas), Shark! (similar to pirate ship but they all stand on top screaming “shark”), and Ice cream shop (sellers stand under the playscape and deliver ice cream cones to customers on the other side of the ‘counter’).
We thank you again for working so closely with us as we designed this safe and sturdy play area to fit the needs of our Nursery School. It has been one year and it still looks great, blending beautifully into our historic town green. Both our school and our community look forward to many, many more years of fun!”

Laurie H., Daycare Director

Washington, CT

“Our entire church is excited with the equipment and especially glad we saved 32,226 milk jugs from a landfill. We love the look of wood without the problems of termites and splintering.”

Joyce W.

Jacksonville, AR

“I wanted to drop you a quick note to commend you on your subcontractor’s performance…The combination of your quality equipment and the installation by Hammer Down has provided the staff, children and Marine Corp with an excellent play facility. The installation and application of the equipment has turned out superbly.  Hammer Down, Paul and his entire crew were pleasant to work with, knowledgeable of the equipment and codes and had an uncommon willingness to work well with us and other contractors. I commend them for an excellent install and terrific attitude.

As for the poured in place rubber; again a superb product paired with a great subcontractor. Clean Play, Allen and his crew provided a level of work that would be hard to surpass. The installation went smoothly and quickly. I appreciate their attention to detail and cleanliness. Though we may have stayed late, I never have an issue doing that for a contractor that works as hard and diligently as they did each and every day. There performance was outstanding and one I would look forward to seeing again.

I appreciate all of your help and you providing us with such high quality subcontractors. Thank you.”

Mike R., Superintendent

Sauer, Inc.