When you’re in the business of inspiring healthy play like we are, it’s an honor to get involved with something as touching as this
Houston, TX (PRWEB) April 1, 2010
When Tom Corcoran, owner of Kid Structures in Houston, was approached with an opportunity to help fulfill the dreams of a very special family, the question was not if he would do it but when he could get started. Just days away from the anticipated two-hour premier of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode featuring the touching story and home rebuild of Houston’s Beach family, Corcoran reflects upon the privilege and challenge that came with designing and constructing a play structure for the family’s 12 children—some with special needs.
“When you’re in the business of inspiring healthy play like we are, it’s an honor to get involved with something as touching as this,” said Corcoran referring to the Beach family home rebuild project. After learning of the family’s heart-felt story, the Kid Structures design team spent several weeks looking at how it could transform a simple play structure into a magical place that the Beach’s kids could enjoy for years.
The company received the green light to begin construction on what would become an 18-foot-by-26-foot multi-level wooden swing set in early January, just four days before the rebuild was scheduled to begin. Having already drawn up the plans and eagerly awaiting this day, the Kid Structures team was ready to get started.
They spent the four days leading up to the installation date pre-building as much of the play structure as they could in the company’s warehouse. It was during this time that they solved the challenge of how to construct it to allow for special needs children. To accomplish this, the team built a custom level set to the height of a wheel chair to make transitioning from the chair to the structure possible. They also contacted one of their suppliers to donate a JennSwing special needs swing. The final challenge was to make moving throughout the structure easier, a task accomplished through level-to-level step-ups built to ADA specifications and extra handrails throughout.
With the bulk of the busy work complete, Kid Structures loaded up the trucks and had a team standing by. There was just one more challenge. The crew’s installation time changed due to weather and on-site construction changes. They now had just one afternoon the day before the big reveal to bring their vision to life.
“Installing one of our base-model play structures takes a team of experienced installers about four hours to put together. This being a custom set, and a massive one at that, we had to figure out how to cram eight to 10 hours of work into five,” recalled Corcoran.
Little did he know the solution would be waiting for his team on site.
Upon arrival, a flurry of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition volunteers immediately helped unload and carry all the redwood and cedar timbers and parts to the install area. The crew also received some extra help from a few well-known celebrities. The project’s celebrity guest, movie actress Jessica Alba, along with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Team Leader Ty Pennington, hoisted the swing beam to Kid Structures installers. Other volunteers lent a hand as needed.
Corcoran recalls being amazed by the sheer numbers of volunteers and the enthusiasm of all those involved. “You see the work these people put in on TV every week while watching the show, but being there in person is a surreal experience,” he said. “It’s amazing how much can be done in such short time when you have a team as dedicated as this one was. The Blu Shields Construction crew did a fantastic job of keeping all those involved on schedule.”
When the set was complete, the result was a massive wooden swing set featuring three play levels with roofs, a 12-foot super scoop slide, a giant rock wall, ramp, four swings, a picnic table, dual-chalk boards, tic-tac-toe panel, a ship’s wheel and binoculars.
“I can’t wait to see the looks on the kids’ faces this Sunday when they see the finished product,” said Corcoran. “We often receive letters from parents expressing the joy their children get from our playsets, but to actually see it in their eyes and know it’s for such a good cause makes this one extra special.”
About the Beach Family’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project
In 23 years of marriage, Larry and Melissa Beach have fostered more than 85 children that other adoption agencies were not able to place. They have four biological children and nine adopted children—some with special needs. They started adopting children 12 years ago, after seeing that so many kids were not being placed in homes.
Due to water damage from Hurricane Ike, the Beach family home became unlivable and they were residing in a travel trailer on their property. As a result, they were unable to adopt additional children. But all that was about to change.
Thanks to ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, thousands of volunteers worked around the clock for thousands of hours during one week in January 2010 to build a new home for this deserving family in the Bay Area of Houston. The new home, designed to fit the needs of the Beach family, was completed in 106 hours by a team of vendors and volunteers led by Blu Shields Construction.
About Kid Structures
Kid Structures is a Texas-based manufacturer of American-made wooden play structures. The company opened its first showroom in Houston in 1994. Since then, it has added two locations in Houston as well as locations in San Antonio and Dallas. Kid Structures’ mission is to give families the highest quality and safest playsets that are creatively designed to fuel imaginations and inspire healthy play. The company offers 52 different models of playsets ranging from $559 to $15,500. For more information, visit http://www.kidstructures.com.
About ABC-TVs Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
The Emmy award winning reality program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” now in its 7th season, is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. It’s executive-produced by Anthony Dominici. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America. The show airs Sundays from 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET on ABC.