Pacoima : Playground to Be Built by Parents

Ildiko Choy's design students are at it again.

Students in Choy's advanced interior design class at Cal State Northridge spent their semester drawing up plans and making models for a new playground that will be built by parents from the Vaughn Family Center in Pacoima.

They said the challenge was to make the playground "builder friendly," and to use basic, inexpensive building materials. In addition, students adhered to city building and safety codes, and visited other playgrounds to observe how children played and what they liked.

"We tried to incorporate all the safety codes, such as the distance between the slots in a railing, the height of stairs, the height of monkey bars, and make it feasible for parents to build this themselves," said Rosemarie Cullen, a student from Newbury Park.

"We hope to entice the parents to choose one of our playground designs, and then we'll hold a workshop sometime next semester, and encourage them to build it," Cullen said. "We'll give them the dimensions, the list of materials they'll need, describe every piece of wood and each nail. If they really want to build it, they can, with our help."

Students hope that area lumber stores will donate wood or scrap materials to help parents keep costs down.

"It's nice to be able to help centers that don't have funding, for all the things that children need," Cullen said. "And to know that we can actually help build something that's going to benefit the community."

Last semester, Choy's class helped the nonprofit group Habitat for Humanity build two small houses in San Fernando. Two families who lost their homes in the Northridge earthquake now live there.

The students will present playground plans and models to parents at 5 tonight at the Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, 13330 Vaughn St., Pacoima.

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