Proposed view of Hackett schoolyard by the Community Design Collaborative
Horatio B. Hackett Elementary School is lucky to have a large schoolyard—nearly an acre of land in the middle of the city—but many people describe it as a “sea of pavement.” As it stands, the schoolyard is almost completely covered in asphalt but will soon transform into a lush green space with benefits for students, the neighboring communities and the environment. Many community members are excited that their kids will have green space to play in and teachers look forward to expanding their curriculum to include the outside environment.
This project demonstrates the power of partnerships and community involvement. The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), School District of Philadelphia, Friends of Horatio B. Hackett Elementary School, and the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC), and volunteers from the Community Design Collaborative (CDC) worked together on a master plan for the schoolyard that integrates green stormwater infrastructure.
The schoolyard will be outfitted with green stormwater infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff through PWD’s Green City, Clean Waters plan. The site will be equipped with a rain garden and underground retention basins that will soak up rainwater, filter it and keep it out of the combined sewer system.
Using green stormwater infrastructure at the Hackett School is just one part of the schoolyard revitalization plan. It also includes play and fitness equipment, shade trees, murals, an outdoor classroom, and amenities such as customized swings, accessible ramps and walkways for wheelchairs and students with specialized needs.
Philadelphia Water Department will implement the green stormwater infrastructure elements. To jumpstart the project on the community side, the School leadership and the Friends of Hackett organize work days and are currently raising funds to realize the rest of the plan. You can donate to their cause on their website: http://friendsofhackett.weebly.com
To read more about this project and see pictures of the site, check out this Philadelphia Neighborhoods article Kensington: A Greener Schoolyard for Hackett Elementary.