Going global he hopes to attract playground set

Robert Ciolli

In a small workshop at the old Zia school, Rodney Ward is working hard to perfect his geodesic dome structures.

What started as a simple idea, has become a full-time enterprise.

“We were the first company to come out with an all plastic jungle gym,” Ward said.

“I’ve studied geodesic domes and plastics for about five years, and when Jerry offered me a workshop for free, I started to build them myself.”
Ward came to Tucumcari two years ago to do computer work for Jerry Mares, Ward said. While computers paid the bills, Ward said his passion was always domes.

Ward said he has been able to make and sell enough of the jungle gyms to maintain his business.

Supply problems, however, for some of the raw materials have held back expansion, he said.

Using different materials should clear up the supply problem and make the domes easier to assemble, Ward said.

He is also working on design refinements. “Early domes were pretty much custom jobs, with the new fitting design we will be able to turn out a high quality product at a good price.” Ward said.

Using a variety of tools, jigs and forms, a staff of from six to ten workers cut and form the PVC material which is then packaged and shipped to customers.

Ward’s jungle gyms come in eight sizes, from a preschool size to their largest at eight feet tall and 15 feet wide. Depending on the size, they sell for between $129 and $399.

Ward said that some customers are covering the large dome and using it as a greenhouse.

“My next project will be a greenhouse in a box. Everything a person needs to build it would be in the box,” Ward said.