Southwark Schoolyard Design Wins Community Design Award
Dragon Green Park—an imaginative design for a South Philadelphia green schoolyard inspired by the school’s mascot, a bright yellow dragon—is the winner of the Collaborative’s 2016 Community Design Award.
Jeff Goldstein, principal of DIGSAU and a member of the Collaborative Board of Directors, presented the award at the AIA Philadelphia Design Awards on October 19th. Over the past decade, he explained, “The Collaborative has provided 33 design grants for the design of schoolyards or school-related open space. Among the collection of inspiring schoolyard projects, Dragon Green Park was a standout for its design excellence.The intimate collection of elements – play structures, multi-use surfaces, rain gardens – that have come to define this project type, have been reinterpreted in a engaging and identifiable way that works at the civic scale. Everyone was blown away by the design. This project also exemplifies a true partnership between community and school.”
Since the Collaborative wrapped up Dragon Green Park, Southwark’s schoolyard has been chosen for implementation as part of Parks for People Philadelphia, a joint schoolyard greening initiative of The School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Water Department, and the Trust for Public Land. Danielle Denk of the Trust for Public Land notes, “The work by the Collaborative showcased a commitment to schoolyard greening and elevated the selection of Southwark School as one of our next sites.”
Southwark Elementary School was also selected as one of nine community schools. These schools will receive extra resources to serve as hubs for social, health, and other services in their neighborhoods. The school’s new community liaison, Beth Dougherty of East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association, was instrumental in the Collaborative’s design and community engagement process for Dragon Green Park.
From the South Philly Review:
Representatives from the Philadelphia Access Center, 1832 S. 11th St., and the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association teamed with United Healthcare, 1900 S. Broad St., Nov. 24 to package and distribute 100 free Thanksgiving meals.
Board Member and Education Committee Chair, Beth Dougherty, was just named one of only 25 “Difference Makers” in the South Philly Review! Congratulation Beth!
Click here to see it online.
By Bill Chenevert
Beth Dougherty is another community member who’s putting a lot of time in a school building where she doesn’t even have a child. And, in a time of career transition, she just may have found her new passion. “This has become the most important social issue to me. I’ve always been a big supporter of public schools,” Dougherty, the Chair of the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association’s Education Committee, said. She’s frustrated about the way public discourse slanders public school buildings and teachers and Southwark School, where her efforts tend to focus, is an example of the opposite of this unfounded notion.
“The public schools have this rotten reputation and that the teachers don’t care and that everyone’s apathetic,” she said, regrettably.
And she’s been in the building quite a bit lately and is more than willing to show neighborhood families that this is simply not the case.
“[Southwark] is really just an amazing place. The kids are amazing and it’s really kind of beautiful. Public schools really are places where kids want to learn and teachers want to teach them and the feeling is just really positive – you get a positive feeling when you walk into Southwark, and I will take anyone on a tour of the building at any time,” she said.
One of the things she’s most excited about is an incoming playground at Southwark for which the Community Design Collaborative has already whipped up plans. They’ve created “gorgeous renderings and then we’ll go out and start hustling to raise the money to fund the build,” she said, “it’s probably $1 million.” “There’s not really a park space in our neighborhood so we’re hoping that it’s going to be this amazing space – an outdoor learning space, gardens, a playground. We’re really hoping that the park can be open to the community,” she said, and noted that some neighbors have requested a walking track around the perimeter of the school.
The resident of the 1700 block of South 10th Street is a Temple Law grad who moved to Philly from New York City about 22 years ago.
“The reason I got involved at Southwark is this huge influx of younger couples in the neighborhood,” she said, and seemed excited to report that although the EPX educational efforts have focused on Southwark, “we’re now also starting to work with St. Anthony of Padua – we’re going to be holding a fundraiser later in the year to support their athletic program,” she said. But about Southwark, she’s inspired by its building leader, too: “We’re so lucky to have Andrew [Lukov] as a principal and he’s been so inclusive and amazing.”
East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association (EPX) will move its meeting and office space staring on June 4, 2013. EPX will now be housed on the third floor of the main school building of Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School in a suite of former offices and classrooms. New signage and accommodations will be made to access the suite via elevator. In addition, the EPX Community Garden will continue to be planted on schools grounds and serve as a boon to neighbors and charities in the area. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has chosen Ss. Neumann-Goretti High as one of their pilot programs for a Catholic exchange students initiative and they will reside in the former EPX Center. EPX is happy to support the school’s venture into this new educational paradigm. Education is at the forefront of EPX’s civic agenda and stronger schools make for better neighborhoods!
In keeping with the PA Non-Profit Act the Board of East Passyunk Crossing has approved a comprehensive update to our bylaws.
Kindly take the opportunity to read the revisions, and note to neighbors who have no internet access that a few paper copies will be available at the January 7th meeting for review, prior to the vote which will take place on that evening.
You can read the bylaws by clicking here.
White House Community Partnership Summit in Philadelphia, PA on Friday, March 2, 2012.
ISSUE AREA HIGHLIGHTS – Jobs/Economy, Livable Communities, Healthcare and Education
The White House Office of Public Engagement and the General Services Administration are planning a daylong community partnership summit for Friday, March 2, 2012 to take place at Penn’s Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. The objective of the summit is to build stronger relationships with community leaders, share information about policies that are important to the region, and encourage Administration-community collaboration to address local issues. GSA Administrator Martha Johnson and Department of Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan are scheduled to attend. Additional information on the event can be found here.
Here is a wonderful article about our Charitable Giving Committee on the cover of the South Philly Review! Click here to read it. Go EPX!
Photo by Rob Torney