A playful partnership
In 1944, Metro Parks Tacoma in Tacoma, Wash., and the city’s school district wanted to resolve the recurring conflicts between parks, schools and the city. Until then, officials struggled to find common ground between the separate rules that governed playgrounds that were located on school properties and community centers that were owned by the city or Metro Parks Tacoma, an independent park district. The park district and school board created a joint park-school recreation program to coordinate activities, according to the February 1948 issue of The American City. The new program managed playgrounds, indoor centers and athletic leagues using facilities on both parks and school grounds.
Today, Metro Parks Tacoma still collaborates with Tacoma Public Schools, organizing activities for residents in arts, sports and aquatics, which are held at school facilities. The school district also coordinates athletic activities in Metro Park Tacoma facilities and organizes after-school programs. Both entities collaborated on the Glass in the Garden exhibit, which featured glass art created by middle and high school students. Metro Parks Tacoma also organizes the SPARX Spring Break Camp, which uses school facilities to mentor middle school students.