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Development News

West Philly's Lea Elementary declared Green School Makeover finalist

In May 2012, Flying Kite covered the Community Design Collaborative's Transforming Urban Schoolyards design charrette, an event that aimed to rethink Philly's most asphalt-ridden schoolyards. West Philly's Henry C. Lea Elementary was one of the lucky recipients of the charrette's ideas. Now, those visions have a chance to come to life -- Lea is one of 10 finalists for a national $75,000 Green School Makeover grant from Global Green USA.

Julie Scott with the West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools (WPCNS) says the Green School Makeover grant will go towards Lea's ambitious sustainability plans. "We would utilize the grant to get a comprehensive recycling program started for the school," she says. "We’d start with relocating the dumpster off the grounds, which is a huge undertaking."
The dumpster would be relocated to the school's north yard to create an area for recycling and compost. This initiative would join other in-progress greening efforts. Last November, through a grant from SCI-West, the elementary school (in partnership with WPCNS) built a 1,400-square-foot planting bed, an early-action project identified during the charrette. Additional walking paths and plantings were added in the spring.

Once complete, the space will reorient the schoolyard as the primary entrance, leading visitors through a garden that would double as an outdoor area for science classes. In addition to the recycling program, the school also hopes to add additional stormwater mitigation features and rooftop solar panels.

The school is still actively searching for other ways to fund its master plan. If you're interested in getting involved in any way, please complete this brief survey or email [email protected] for details. 

Source:  Julie Scott, West Philadelphia Coalition of Neighborhood Schools
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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