• May 3, 2013

Children can enjoy the park year-round at Recess West

New children's play area opens at West Acres,
sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota

FARGO, N.D.—The sound of children laughing and playing was prominent during the opening of Recess West, the new play area sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND). Officials from West Acres and BCBSND welcomed a group of young children and their parents to try out the shopping center's new indoor play area that features play elements drawn from nature and a bright, fresh color scheme. Recess West officially opened today and will provide access to free, year round space for healthy activity whenever the mall is open.

"Who doesn't enjoy going to the park? The goal of Recess West is to provide an enjoyable and happy place for children and their parents that supports staying active," said Paul von Ebers, BCBSND president and Chief Executive Officer. "This sponsorship is one of the more visible ways we are advocating for daily, healthy activity for North Dakotans of all ages as The Official Sponsor of Recess."

Customer feedback drove many of the decisions regarding the design ofthe BCBSND Recess West play area. Like many customers, Kimberly Peters Larson posted her feedback on West Acre's Facebook page. She specifically expressed her desire for a play area designed to accommodate younger children. When asked what she was looking forward to seeing in the new space, the Fargo parent and preschool operator said "I hope the new area has opportunities for young and old because no matter what age the child, they all need a place to run, play, socialize and be active."

Brad Schlossman, CEO at West Acres Development LLP, said the project organizers took comments like these into consideration when outlining the parameters for the new design, "Our customers asked for more elements that accommodate smaller children, as well as making the area brighter and more inviting for both children and their parents. We're excited for our customers to come try the new Recess West play area. I'm confident they'll see their ideas were included in the new space, including ample hand sanitizer."

Tours of the new space revealed the North Dakota park theme, with multiple smaller climbers for younger children, the most common request from West Acres customers. Another prominent play element is a 16-foot tree with club house and fox den; a combined tunnel, slide and climber. All the elements are certified antibacterial and fungal resistant. The shopping center also made major enhancements to the entrance and ventilation system, resulting in greatly improved air quality and atmosphere.

The Recess West sponsorship is part of BCBSND's focus on creating opportunities for daily, healthy activity across North Dakota. "Our members have asked us to take a prominent role in supporting healthy living, particularly focusing on the children," said von Ebers. "Becoming The Official Sponsor of Recess was based on member feedback explaining that we need to advocate for folks to live a healthier lifestyle. A key part of that is a daily break for healthy activity."

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
BCBSND is a member-owned, not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. As North Dakota's largest provider of health care coverage, BCBSND is taking BOLD steps to collaborate with doctors, hospitals, clinics and members to ensure affordable access to quality health care in the state. To learn more about BCBSND, visit www.BCBSND.com.

About West Acres Shopping Center
As the region's premier shopping destination, West Acres Shopping Center is home to over 120 stores, including four major department stores and numerous shops exclusive to the region. Home to the Roger Maris Museum, West Acres features an expansive 750-seat food court and local art on display as part of the Regional Showcase. West Acres Shopping Center is owned by West Acres Development, LLP. To learn more about West Acres, visit westacres.com.