The Head Start program in Floyd needs a new playground. Administrators say the old one's seen better days.
Just above the new Five Guys in Blacksburg, on the second floor, is Virginia Tech's landscape architecture studio. That's where about two dozen students have been working on new playground designs.
Walking through the second floor, the first thing that hits you is the strong smell of cheeseburgers grilling below on the first floor. Next thing is how messy this studio is. But these students' minds are set on one thing: designing a brand new playground for Head Start kids in Floyd County.
Amy Eliason and Rebecca Carle are two of the Virginia Tech students tasked with helping create play scape designs. Eliason said the group was a mixed bag.
"There were five groups initially it was a class of like twenty varying interdisciplinary. Rebecca's an architect. I'm in landscape architecture. We were working with human development people. We were working with engineers, economics majors," Eliason said.
Students met for one full semester in this course offered by the honors college, and were told to stick with ''simple'' like it was years ago.
Carle, a fifth year senior, said the designs were made with three year old children in mind.
"And I think by having the natural play it kind of it makes it a little bit ambiguous. You don't tell the kids 'oh you need to slide down this or do this' but it gives them their own imagination to do what they want with it," Carle said.
The Head Start playground in Floyd is more than ten years old. Nina Hollins with New River Community Action Head Start said the playground needs work.
"Right now it's still very rough. We have the current playground, it's a little overgrown with the current equipment and structure that's currently in place," Hollins said.
Hollins said the winning playground design will be built for about $25,000.
Carle and Eliason are just two of the 20 students in this first ever collaboration. Eliason said it was an experience that Virginia Tech should offer more students.
"The whole class was kind of like an experiment and that's why it was cool," Eliason said.
Hollins said the new Head Start playground in Floyd should be built by late summer.