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Rural school creates new social space through skate park

Monday, April 30, 2018

A new skate park at Kaimai School is offering “a welcoming way for those outside of the direct school community”, with a view to “provide a place for families to come together on the weekends and create a social place of being”, according to school principal Dane Robertson.

The park will be shared with the students of Kaimai School and the wider community, as well as those who use the school turning area as a rest stop as they travel over the Kaimai Ranges.

The skate park provides a common area for the community across a range of ages, adults, parents, teenagers, primary and preschool children.

This benefits school students (and staff) during school hours, and others in the community outside of school hours, creating a local hub for physical activity – something Dane says was much-needed in the Kaimai area.

“The park will be encouraging a physical lifestyle for youth at no cost.

“Young people need things to do and places where they are free to be themselves within the Kaimai area. This needs to include not only facilities and public areas that cater to more traditional and formal sport, but also those that provide for skating as a popular and healthy form of recreational and social activity.”

The skate park was the result of an 11-year-old playground upgrade. In 2014, the school contracted painters to paint the school and playground, however unbeknownst to the school the playground was rusting from the inside and had to be dismantled immediately as it was no longer safe.

Presented with an opportunity to replace the playground with something new, students and staff researched and consulted with the community, and through this process the idea of a skate park came to fruition.

“Many, if not almost all, families have gravel driveways and the school has little concreted areas for bikes, scooters or skateboards,” explains Dane.

“The feedback from the students and the wider community was that many had to travel into town to access concrete to bike/skate on. Many people also commented that Kaimai School already had two playgrounds, as well as plenty of trees that students climb, thus they were keen to replace our old playground with a skate area.”

Contracting the services of Rich Landscaping, the school opted for a compact skate park design, with a multiple pump track that runs between the main drop-in and a mini ramp.

Dane says studies have shown these facilities help give young people a sense of community.

“The Local Government of Queensland report in 2004 stated that skate facilities are not just recreational facilities in the same way that tennis courts are. Well-designed and managed skate facilities will become a hub for community life.

“A skate facility can be a catalyst for healthy community life in which young and old socialise, have fun, develop new skills, make new friends, hang out and much more.”

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