Orozco Academy has been transformed with the help of Space to Grow, an innovative public-private partnership program that develops Chicago schoolyards into centers for school and community life to support active healthy lifestyles, outdoor learning, physical education and engagement with nature.
The City Department of Water Management and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District are funded to reduce flooding and combined sewer overflows but often have no available land to temporarily store runoff. The Chicago Public Schools have land but limited budgets, which are typically targeted to classrooms and teachers rather than playgrounds and parking lots. The Space to Grow program partners these groups for mutual benefit.
The stormwater management improvements at Orozco include 10,000 square feet of Unilock Eco-Priora™ permeable pavers and have the capacity to hold more than 303,000 gallons of water. Additional site improvements include: a multipurpose turf field, play equipment for younger and older students, an outdoor classroom area, a rain garden with native plants and seating throughout the schoolyard.
Students now have a much-needed play space while runoff rates and volumes are significantly reduced eliminating the likelihood of future flooding and greatly reducing the pollutant load to local waterways.