What We Do

Space to Grow

Space to Grow


Space to Grow: Greening Chicago Schoolyards, is an innovative partnership led by Openlands and Healthy Schools Campaign to transform Chicago schoolyards into spaces that provide students, their families and the broader community with opportunities for active play and physical education, outdoor learning and environmental literacy, while significantly contributing to the effective management of stormwater.

These green schoolyards help reconnect communities with their local public schools, provide much-needed green space in otherwise heavily urbanized neighborhoods, and reduce stormwater runoff across the city.

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.

For more information, please contact schools@openlands.org.

(Image: Allison Williams)

Space to Grow Update

As of fall of 2015, Space to Grow has completed schoolyard transformations at six schools, including Virgil Grissom Elementary, Donald Morrill Elementary, George Leland Elementary, Theophilus Schmid Elementary, Willa Cather Elementary, and Orozco Community Academy. After a year of community planning, summer construction, and student and community planting days, the schoolyards are ready for the school and the entire community to use and enjoy. With new turf fields, age-appropriate play structures, permeable surfaces, vegetable gardens, native rain gardens, outdoor classrooms and more, each school now has a unique schoolyard benefiting the students, the community, and the environment.

Interactive Map of Virgil Grissom Elementary

Drag the slider to the left and right to view the schoolyard transformation.


Interactive Map of Donald Morrill Elementary

Drag the slider to the left and right to view the schoolyard transformation.

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Owner & land manager: Chicago Public Schools

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