Should schools cover basketball courts? What are the benefits of basketball court covers? Over the past few years, we have built covered outdoor learning areas and basketball courts for both primary schools and secondary schools – so, should your school cover their basketball court?
There are many benefits that come from building a cover over your school’s basketball court or play area including sun protection and increased outdoor play and learning opportunities. We discuss theses benefits in this article, along with basketball court cover design ideas, how much they cost and information on government grants and funding that may be available for these types of projects.
Keep reading to find out if a basketball court cover is a good fit for your school, the students and the learning program.
Firstly, what is a basketball court cover?
What is a basketball court cover?
As the name suggests, a basketball court cover is a structure built to cover a basketball court – but obviously they are not limited to covering basketball courts. They are also commonly referred to as Covered Outdoor Learning Areas, otherwise known as a COLA.
These structures are usually a simple roof-only configuration with an open-web truss design – but they can be easily customised with additional design features which we discuss further on in this article.
So, should schools cover outdoor basketball courts? Does your school need a covered outdoor learning area?
Should schools cover outdoor basketball courts? What are the benefits?
There are many reasons why covered basketball courts are beneficial, particularly for schools. We discuss three of the benefits of basketball court covers below.
1. Sun protection
One of the key benefits of a covered play area or basketball court is the shade and protection they provide from the glaring Australian sun for both students and supervising teachers. This is important as excessive sun exposure can lead to skin damage and then skin cancer later in life.
According to the Cancer Council, “Ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage accumulated during childhood and adolescence is strongly associated with an increased risk of skin cancer later in life. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with two in three Australians developing some form of skin cancer before age 70.”
It is worth noting that skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and schools have an excellent opportunity to not only educate on this, but also minimise students exposure to UV radiation: “Students are in school when daily ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels are at their peak, meaning schools are uniquely placed to educate about sun protection behaviour, minimise UVR exposure and ultimately reduce a student’s lifetime risk of skin cancer.”
The Victorian Government’s Department of Education and Training has a policy on UV and sun protection which states:
“When UV levels are 3 or above (generally from mid-August to the end of April in Victoria) all staff and students should:
- use a combination of sun-protection measures (including hats, sunscreen, clothing,
- shade and sunglasses) when outdoors avoid deliberate and extended sun exposure.”
“The school council and principal must ensure there is provision for shade in planning for future buildings or grounds. Schools should consider the availability of shade and other appropriate sun protection measures when planning excursions and other outdoor activities or events.
It is important to ensure that there are sufficient shelters and trees to adequately shade the school grounds, particularly in the following spaces:
- the canteen
- outdoor lesson areas
- popular play areas
- assembly areas
- sporting grounds / pools.”
A basketball cover or Covered Outdoor Learning Area is one way to ensure that there are sufficient shaded areas to help keep your students out of the sun and keep their skin protected.
The Department of Education also have some useful resources on installing shade structures, which you can access here.
2. Encourage exercise and outdoor activity – all year round
The second key benefit of basketball court covers that we are going to discuss is that they can be used all year round – in any weather conditions.
While less permanent shade structures like shade cloth can serve their purpose, they aren’t designed to provide shade and shelter in inclement weather.
A heavy-duty steel structure like our outdoor learning covers, provide shade from the heat and glare of the sun in the summer months, and also shelter the students from the rain and wind in the winter months. This means that the students can still play outside and be physically active even when it is raining.
This is beneficial as being physically active is important for both children’s physical and mental health, especially during the wintertime when the skies are grey and the weather cold and dismal. Being physically active and out in the fresh air also improves concentration levels and energy levels and reduces stress levels, so a covered outdoor area could help you help your students learn and thrive.
Additionally, making it easier for students to be physically active helps improve the childhood obesity rates in Australia – according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, “overweight and obesity affects 25% of Australian children and adolescents.”
Childhood obesity is a sensitive topic but “if left unchecked can cause physical, social and emotional health problems.” So, making it easy for students and children to be physically active is one way to proactively approach this issue.
3. A versatile and budget-friendly investment
It is important not to overlook the fact that a basketball cover isn’t just a basketball cover!
Yes, a covered basketball court means that students can play on the court unimpeded by the weather, but it also means that the court can be used as outdoor learning area – or even to host outdoor events such as a school fete. The versatility of a covered outdoor learning area can make it a smart investment for schools.
A COLA can also be a budget-friendly investment. An outdoor basketball court cover is a much more cost-effective option than an indoor basketball stadium, so if your budget is restricted, a basketball cover can provide you with many of the benefits of a stadium – without the hefty price tag.
If you are working to a budget for your project this article also provides a price guide for basketball court covers and information on government grants available.
Design ideas for covered basketball courts and outdoor learning areas
Here are a few design ideas that you should consider when planning a covered basketball court or COLA.
- Choose the right height for the cover – there should be adequate clearance so that playing basketball isn’t restricted. Popular heights for these covers include 4.5 metres, 5 metres and 5.5 metres but they can be built lower or higher depending on your requirements. Talk to one of our building consultants to find out what height would work best for your project.
- Our basketball covers include heavy-duty UB columns so invest in padded covers for the columns, such as a pole pad, to make the play area safe and avoid injuries due to collisions with the columns.
- Consider whether Colorbond would be the best cladding option for your cover. Choosing a Colorbond cladding colour, rather than zinc cladding, to match in with existing school buildings, water tanks and other infrastructure around the school can make the cover much more aesthetically pleasing and ensures it blends in with the surrounds.
- It is also important to consider the bay spacings of your basketball cover so that the columns do not impede on existing infrastructure, playground equipment or access points. To avoid this issue, we can build the cover with varying bay spacings – our building consultants visit site to measure up the structure and determine where the column placement needs to.
- Installing fiberglass skylights in the roof and/or the walls of your cover can allow you to take advantage of the available natural light without the dangerous UV rays. You can learn more about this design option in the video below.
Click through the gallery below for to view some completed projects for more design ideas and examples.
How much does it cost to build a basketball court cover?
The average cost of a basketball court cover is approx. $200,000 including GST and erection costs.
Please note that this price is an estimate only and is based on previous projects of varying sizes. The price for your project will depend on factors like the size of the cover, project complexity, design features included such as gable infills or skylights, the site location and the materials used. For an accurate quote, call us on 1800 68 78 88 – we’d be happy to help you with an obligation-free quote.
Are there government grants available for basketball court covers or outdoor learning areas?
Providing shade for students and other sun safety measures is strongly encouraged by governments so it is worth checking to see if your state government or the federal government has any grants or funding available for new shade structures.
For example, the seventh round of the Victorian Government’s Shade Grant Program is open and closes at 11.59pm, 10 June 2022.
Other grants and funding available that may be applicable include the Australian Government’s Capital Grants Program for non-government schools and the New South Wales Government’s Clubgrants program (the infrastructure will need to be accessible to the public outside of school hours to be eligible though).
We hope you have found this article on the benefits of basketball court covers for schools helpful and if you need any further information on design ideas or prices for your COLA project, call us or request a quote. Otherwise, browse our Learning Hub for more articles, videos and resources.