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.
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.
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.