As students get back to school this month, we’re excited to announce that three more schoolyards are in the process of being transformed into beautiful and functional spaces to play, learn, garden and be outside. We started construction on three new Space to Grow schoolyards at Corkery Elementary School, Gunsaulus Elementary Scholastic Academy and James Wadsworth Elementary School.
Space to Grow is co-managed by Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands. Capital funding and expertise comes from Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Department of Water Management and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Each Space to Grow schoolyard gets a $1.5 million transformation, and every space uses special surfaces and design elements to capture rainwater and help reduce neighborhood flooding during the heaviest of storms.
Space to Grow engages the entire school community to create a schoolyard that meets many needs and serves as a source of neighborhood pride. Each Space to Grow school community takes part in a planning process during which school staff, students, parents and other community members provide a vision for their schoolyard.
Based on the results of this process, the schoolyards are designed and constructed to meet the unique needs and visions of each community. For example, Corkery’s schoolyard in South Lawndale will feature a multipurpose turf field, jogging track, half-court basketball court, play equipment, an outdoor classroom area, Permeable Pavers, native gardens and trees, vegetable gardens and seating. At Wadsworth, the designs include many of the same elements at Corkery, but also a decorative water feature that uses rain runoff from the roof to water the gardens, and a wooden fence that the school community will paint.
We’re thrilled to have broken ground on three new schoolyards, and we can’t wait to celebrate each schoolyard with the school communities when they’re finished this fall! Want to keep up with the latest Space to Grow news? Check out the new Space to Grow website!