Helen R. Walton Children's Enrichment Center Nature Playground
Early childhood play space relies on MoistureShield® composite deck boards for multiple uses beyond traditional decking
When two-year old Grayson Schmidt cut the ribbon to open the new nature playground at the Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center, he kicked off years of safe and engaging play for infants and toddlers in Bentonville, Arkansas, and neighboring communities.
The Walton Center created the multi-sensory space to help further its mission of providing families with the highest quality early childhood education and care. The newly redesigned playground encourages exercise, social interaction, discovery and sensory exploration. Its fun features include a sand box raised above the ground, winding boardwalks, footbridges, gazebo, and hideouts for playing hide-and-seek.
When the center was looking for a splinter-free and long-lasting alternative to wood for use throughout the playground, several of its Buildings and Grounds Committee members recommended MoistureShield composite decking, which is made in neighboring Springdale, Arkansas. MoistureShield decking is not only suitable for traditional decks and docks, it is also versatile enough to be durable in the other unique non-structural applications that the Walton Center would need.
In the nature playground, MoistureShield decking was used for non-traditional applications such as the sandbox, fences, benches, and gazebo roof, as well as for the surfacing of the boardwalks and gazebo floor. Because the boards can be ripped, routed and cut to shape in the same way lumber can, they allow for infinite building possibilities. For example, the Walton Center made balusters for the playground’s foot bridge by ripping and routing deck boards to size, and cut unique shapes to adorn the fence and delight children and their parents.
In addition to MoistureShield decking's workability, the product's safety and moisture resistance were crucial deciding factors for its use in the playground. The wood fibers in MoistureShield decking are fully encapsulated in water-resistant plastic, which results in splinter-free boards that are impervious to water – making them safe for children’s play structures, and long-lasting while in continual exposure to wet sand and the region’s humid climate. While providing such superior performance, MoistureShield also offers the beauty of wood.
"The product looks really natural and blends well with the outdoor environment – it looks fantastic!" said Michelle Stephens, Executive Director for the Walton Center. "And, our teachers and students really appreciate that it’s splinter-free, which keeps small hands and bare feet safe and comfortable."
MoistureShield products are available in a range of attractive colors, and with realistic embossed wood grain patterns and grooved boards to accommodate hidden fasteners. Because of a unique manufacturing process, each MoistureShield board is protected to the core, making it the only composite decking durable enough to be installed on the ground, in the ground or underwater and still be protected by the industry’s leading lifetime warranty. Additionally, the products are made with 95% total recycled content, making them an environmentally responsible choice.
For more information on MoistureShield products, visit www.moistureshield.com.
To learn more about the Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center, visit www.hwccenter.com.