After much delay, Cobbs Creek school to transform asphalt lot into green space

After four years of planning and fundraising, the Add B. Anderson school is getting a green space and play equipment to bring nature into the city.

People are seen wearing masks at a press event for a new schoolyard

The Add B. Anderson school will soon be home to a green space and new playground equipment. (City of Philadelphia)

After years of planning and pandemic-related delays, a student-designed schoolyard in West Philadelphia will soon become reality.

The project at the Add B. Anderson School in Cobbs Creek will transform a dangerous piece of asphalt in the schoolyard into a modern recreational facility with play equipment.

Principal Laurena Zeller says third-grade students worked on the transformation as a class project four years ago.

“We deserve this as a school, we deserve this as a community, and I thank you for not giving up on this dream and ensuring that this happens,” Zeller told attendees at a Tuesday press conference.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

School Superintendent Dr. William Hite admitted the process should have been quicker.

“It should not take a design that starts in third grade to start [building] when they are in seventh grade,” Hite said. “We have to do this a lot sooner and in a lot more places.”

Hite added the community at large will also benefit from the new schoolyard, which will include a running and walking track, picnic tables, benches, and a rain garden.

The green space is designed to reduce flooding and filter runoff from the streets surrounding the school.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Officials with the Trust for Public Land, which is assisting with the effort, said the tree plantings and use of stormwater management designs will help reduce approximately 600,000 gallons of stormwater runoff from entering nearby Cobbs Creek and the Schuylkill River.

The goal is to have the project completed by this summer at a price of about $700,000, with funding coming from the city, the school district, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and L.L.Bean.

The two-acre space is one of a dozen schoolyards the Trust for Public Land has targeted in Philadelphia in recent years, with 10 completed and two more under construction.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal