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Victory Laps

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Two nonprofits that got their projects started with help from the Collaborative reached the final stretch last week. Greening Greenfield received a grant of $50,000 from the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund to complete the final phase of its sustainable school yard—a green roof.  And the Center for Literacy opened the doors to its new headquarters in Old City, welcoming a big crowd of supporters that included Mayor Michael Nutter and former mayor W. Wilson Goode. Through their projects, each nonprofit is actively addressing an issue with broad impact.

Greenfield Elementary School, via the parent-led Greening Greenfield, has transformed its asphalt yard into an outdoor laboratory that teaches children about micro-climates, indigenous plants, rain water absorption, and energy conservation and harvesting, and their symbiotic relationship with the environment—all while they play. The green roof is the last piece of a master plan that includes porous play surfaces, bio-swales, a shaded “secret garden”, a small orchard, and, oh yeah, places to climb or play basketball.

The Collaborative created the conceptual design for the project, which was then shepherded through a second round of community engagement, design development, and construction by SMP Architects, Viridian Studio, Meliora Environmental Design, and Bittenbender Construction.

The Schuylkill River Restoration Fund is a program of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area that provides grants for on-the-ground projects that improve the water resources of the Schuylkill River. While Greenfield is technically a few blocks away from the banks of the Schuylkill, it was chosen on its strength as a model for the thousands of other schools located in the Schuylkill River Watershed.

The Center for Literacy (CLS) opened its new doors with readings by clients, an interactive literacy survey, a game of Jeopardy to test your math and reading mettle. CLS  worked with the Collaborative in two stages, first to confirm that it needed to relocate from its former home in a Baltimore Avenue mansion and then to the scope out space needs to sharpen its search for a new home. JoAnn Weinberger, President of the Center, wrote, “CFL was fortunate twice to have your involvement, and we were well-served by two great architects.” Dick Winston of bwa architecture + planning and Mathew Huffman of Brawer & Hauptman Architects, in case you’re wondering.


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