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, outdoor 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.
After a year of planning with school staff, students, parents and community members, construction began at each of the four pilot schools this summer.
By the end of fall, the new schoolyards will be complete!
Space to Grow schoolyards are more than just playgrounds. The schoolyards include spaces for physical activity, such as turf fields, jogging tracks, basketball and tennis courts, and age-appropriate play equipment. The grounds also feature areas for outdoor learning and exploration, such as outdoor classrooms, native trees and plants, vegetable gardens and art installations. Each schoolyard is designed to include special gardens, permeable surfaces and other landscape features that absorb large amounts of water, which help reduce neighborhood flooding.