The ADA, Playgrounds and a School District in Iowa-Case Study

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


What happens when you get an ADA complaint and DOJ comes knocking? You LEARN from it and RAISE the bar on ADA compliance! Earlier this year, the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) entered an ADA settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The complaint stemmed from the installation of a new playground and its protective surfacing, engineered wood fiber. Learn the facts of the complaint and how the school district staff utilized the time during the investigatory process to improve access to its playgrounds, establishing one of the most comprehensive playground surface testing programs in the country. Our guest presenters, Ben Grimm, ICCSD Grounds Manager and Certified Playground Safety Inspector, and Jennifer Skulski, accessibility consultant, will detail how the facilities management team has changed up its playground program for improved access, from community input to purchasing requirements, installation procedures and surface testing protocols. Together, they will discuss the application of the 2010 ADA Standards to playground surfaces, considerations for loose-fill playground surfaces, and how to conduct an accessibility assessment of the playground surface and test for compliance with ASTM F1951 on a playground, beyond the “heel/toe test.“ During this session, participants will learn how one organization turned the negative aspects of an ADA complaint into the opportunity to build a model best practice for maintaining accessible playground surfaces achieving a 100% pass rate over the last three seasons.

Multimedia Archives

Playback Video

Note: No credit is available for reviewing the recorded session.


Ben Grimm, Grounds Manager and Certified Playground Safety Inspector, Iowa City Community School District

Jennifer Skulski, Principal, Skulski Consulting LLC