Major Schoolyard Project Update

At the October 30 Board of Education meeting, District 97 staff and their landscape architecture firm, Altamanu, presented a plan for the Irving Schoolyard Project. It was a response to the feedback our team has given District 97 and Altamanu this Fall encouraging them to include plans for not only a playground but for a field as well. One of the main goals of the Schoolyard Project has always been to remove as much of the asphalt as possible.

The plan presented by Altamanu was a very basic outline of two options of playground improvements: one to repair the existing equipment and one to replace it completely. It included two options for a synthetic turf field: one smaller and one larger. And it included options for resurfacing the existing parking lot or moving it to where the current playground is.

The purpose of the board discussion was to provide feedback on funding, planning and partnerships so Altamanu can move ahead with designing a more detailed plan for construction in the summer of 2013.

A lengthy discussion by the board resulted in the following key points:

1. The board was clear and forthcoming in its enthusiastic support for the Schoolyard Project.

2. More time is needed to have a revised plan that includes items the board is in favor of reviewing.

3. They would like more details on including a larger size, multi-purpose field, which requires moving the current parking lot.

4. They want to see a synthetic turf field of some size installed.

5. They want to see options that address adequate lighting. [Note: The type of lights was not clarified. Some lighting for safety at dusk may be sufficient, similar to what exists now around the schoolyard and the parking lot.]

6. They prefer a completely new playground, which would likely have a rubberized surface.

7. They are flexible on the placement of the field, playground and parking, as is the Schoolyard Project team.

8. They are completely committed to improving safety at Irving and it is “mandatory” that something major happen in the summer of 2013.

There will be further discussion at the November 13 Board of Education meeting. This will include more details on the cost of various options of the field, playground and parking.

There will be two opportunities for significant input from Irving families and staff. Our original public input dates of 11/7 and 11/15 had to be postponed so that the board can continue the discussion of financial commitment, which leads into a more detailed plan. We will let you know loud and clear when these next meetings are re-scheduled.

Please try to attend the November 13 Board of Education meeting. It’s at 7pm at the District 97 Admin Building, 970 W. Madison (entrance is on Madison). Your presence shows the board there is support for their financial commitment. For details on the agenda, and minutes of the October 30 meeting, check the District 97 website: http://www.op97.org/board-of-education/Meeting-Packets.cfm

If you have any questions, please contact Margaret Jeschke (margaret_jeschke@yahoo.com) or Laura Crawford (lauracrawford47@gmail.com).

THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF THE SCHOOLYARD PROJECT! WE’RE REALLY GETTING THERE!

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