409 W. 80th St., Chatham neighborhood
October 4, 2019 Space to Grow, ribbon cutting at Westcott in Chicago, President Kari K. Steele, Chicago Alderman David Moore (17th Ward), Space to Grow, green infrastructure, Some of the unique features at Westcott Elementary include an outdoor classroom, permeable rubber playground areas with gravel storage underneath; large stormwater storage tunnels underground to reduce flooding, and bioswales, rain gardens, and native planting areas to help soak up stormwater. SPACE TO GROW: GREENING CHICAGO SCHOOLYARDS Space to Grow is an innovative program led by Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands to transform Chicago schoolyards into vibrant outdoor spaces that benefit students, community members and the environment. Schoolyard renovations prioritize physical activity, play, learning, exploration and community engagement.
The green schoolyards also incorporate landscape features that capture a significant amount of rainfall, helping keep the city’s water resources clean and resulting in less neighborhood flooding. Space to Grow uses a unique model that brings together capital funds and leadership from Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Department of Water Management, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Common elements of Space to Grow projects: turf fields for sports and play, play equipment for younger and older students, outdoor classroom areas, rain gardens with native plants, vegetable gardens, benches and seating throughout.
The Space to Grow schoolyard at Westcott opened in fall 2019. The new schoolyard features a track, play equipment for all ages, an outdoor classroom and rain gardens. The schoolyard also features upgrades to the basketball and tennis courts as well as the baseball diamond. Big Green Chicago partners with the school and provided raised beds for growing nutritious food.