Two Appalachian State students, junior international business major Iridian Garcia and freshman physics major Kavona Evans, are working on getting a playground in Appalachian State’s major plan as a health and safety legislation for the Studen Government Association. If the idea gains enough support from the student body as well as the SGA and sponsors, then it could be built within the next six to seven years.
Adult playgrounds, or adult recreation fields, are becoming quite the commodity across the globe. The United Kingdom has created several adult playgrounds and the trend is spreading across Europe. According to an article by BBC, the playgrounds nudge adults to participate in physical activity more. They are often times placed next to playgrounds for kids to encourage adults to use the fitness stations while their kids play.
“We have this beautiful community and I think that park would help it that much more,” Garcia said.
Garcia and Evans believe that the adult recreation field would benefit Appalachian State both physically and mentally. A lot of people struggle with stress, anxiety and depression on campus. The two believe that having an area where people can sit to watch nature as well as people and be active would greatly improve the lives of the students.
“I feel that the playground would release some stress, especially since we already have such a beautiful campus,” Evans said.
Garcia and Evans decided on three possible locations on Appalachian State’s campus where the recreation field could be placed. Their top choice is the grassy rectangular field behind Appalachian Hall and in front of Cone Residence Hall. Their other two choices are some land in Durham Park and the field located between Belk Residence Hall and Eggers Residence Hall. The field behind Appalachian Hall is their top choice is because the land is flat, and would require little to no foundation work.
If the idea makes it into the major plan, then Appalachian State will provide them with some funding. However, since it is an expensive idea, they are hoping to receive grants to lessen the amount the university has to pay.
“The only way we can get this funding is if students at Appalachian show an interest,” Garcia said.
This park would be different than other adult recreation centers because Garcia and Evans are trying to target a multitude of groups instead of one particular group of people. They want the park to be inclusive for the entire student body as well as the public. Therefore, instead of focusing on only releasing stress or solely promoting fitness, they are trying to include elements of both.
“Nobody is ever angry at a park,” Evans said. “You always have a great time and it definitely takes you away from the stress of your studies or all of the problems you’re going through.”
The two are planning on issuing a survey to the student body asking what they would want in the park. Some of their ideas include a merry-go-round, swing, monkey bars, work out stations, a place for people to use skateboards and areas for people to hang their Enos.
“I don’t really like going to the gym, but I do want to be fit,” Garcia said. “I get excited about going to the gym, but once I get there, I feel so out of place. It doesn’t feel natural.”
Freshman history and sociology major Lauren Parko and freshman communication sciences and disorders major Emily Fuller believe the adult recreation center would be beneficial for Appalachian State’s student body. They agree that the recreation field would allow students to relieve stress by allowing them to participate in activities they used to participate in as children.
There are, however, a few concerns about the park. One issue is that there are sex offenders on campus. Since Evans and Garcia want to make the park inclusive for everyone, they are proposing to put a gate or fence around the park. To gain access, people will have to swipe their AppCards. They believe this will work if children visit the park because they will have a responsible adult watching them.
Garcia and Evans have also not received much support about the idea. Many of their fellow peers are not taking them seriously because of the connotation they have with parks and playgrounds. They are planning on setting up an information table in the future to spread the word and listen to people’s wishes and concerns about the recreation field.
“We’re very serious about this,” Evans said. “This has a lot of benefits and a lot of people overlook it because they hear the word playground.”
If Appalachian State builds the park on campus, then they would be one of the first campuses to have one. Not only would it help the student body, but it would also help the university. The recreation field would serve as another way to put Appalachian State on the map, and make the university well known across the country and attract more students.
Story by: Celia Calhoun, A&E Reporter