Choosing Shade Systems That Fit Your School’s Needs

The American Cancer Society has mounted an all-out campaign to get schools to incorporate more shade for kids when they’re outside, to combat the potential of skin cancer. Of course providing additional shade can generate many benefits for schools and students beyond improved health.

Certainly shade systems can help keep students comfortable in hot or inclement weather. But they can also extend the usefulness of outdoor areas for year-round fresh air and exercise, sports, even classroom-style instruction.

Shade systems can cover playgrounds and equipment, eating areas, bleachers, ball fields, tennis courts and other seasonal sports fields. They can also provide covered areas for special events such as graduation or the annual school carnival. Every school’s needs are different, though, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

The design and functional features you choose should be specifically tailored for your facility and usage plans. Naturally you’ll want something that looks attractive and will assure long-lasting performance and durability.

The Cancer Society recommends conducting a “shade audit” to determine what you need and what type of shade systems would work best. You should consider potential uses and requirements such as:

  • Whether your shading structures will need to provide only protection from the sun or withstand rain, snow, hail, wind or other multi-season performance factors that could affect structural integrity.
  • Whether you need a single shade structure or several sections.
  • Whether your shade systems will be permanent or seasonal, and how long you expect them to last.
  • Special accessories such as side walls, windows or lighting for night use.
  • Handicap accessibility.

Some shade systems are available in kits for do-it-yourself assembly, but you can obtain exactly the configuration you want with custom design and manufacturing. Be sure to get advice from an expert – a company experienced in working with schools – to assess your situation and offer recommendations that make sense and will assure the most cost-effective solutions to meet your school’s needs.