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Adaire Elementary breaks ground for new green space

Darryl Murphy

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Alexander Adaire Elementary School is getting a revitalized schoolyard.

Students and faculty at the Fishtown school were joined Tuesday by Mayor Kenney, Superintendent William Hite, and City Council President Darrell Clarke for a ground-breaking ceremony for the school’s new space, which will not only give students a great place to play, but also will be environmentally friendly.

The new schoolyard is the result of a partnership among the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Friends of Adaire, which is a volunteer group of Fishtown community members, and the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit working to create parks and protect land to ensure healthy communities.

The $1 million project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer and ready for use in the 2017-18 school year.

“I am so thrilled about how this all turned out because all of these partners were not connected to the school four years ago,” said Denis Devine, Friends of Adaire volunteer project leader.

“Now, through the work of Friends of Adaire and principal Jenkins, all of this community built up around this school.”

The schoolyard will feature new infrastructure designed to capture and reuse stormwater. It will also include a large rain garden with a nature trail, a toddler playground, and seating for community gathering.

The space also will advance the District’s Green Futures plan, an initiative to increase sustainability throughout the District by reducing consumption and waste, improving energy efficiency, and creating green schoolyards at every school.

Adaire is the latest school to receive a green schoolyard. The others are William Dick, William Cramp, and John Taggart Elementary Schools. Through the Green Futures plan, the District hopes to bring green schoolyards to five schools every year.

“This is not just a recreational space; it’s a green space,” said Hite. “But more importantly, it’s a learning space. And these spaces both here at Adaire and other places become critically important to creating classroom environments that go beyond the more traditional walls of the schoolhouse.”

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