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Groundbreaking for the Blankenburg School Playground

October 5, 2010 — Photograph of young girl hula hooping on cracked asphalt in playground The Blankenburg School, a public School at 46th and Girard, was in desperate need of a playground. Through the efforts of Professor Debra Ruben, Interior Design, that playground is now becoming a reality. In addition to $250,000 donated by the School District for repaving and new basketball courts, Professor Ruben was the moving force in securing nearly $100,000 in grants from the Umbrella Memorial Association, McLean Contributionship and 25th Century Foundation to support raised gardens, a play structure, and murals on both wall and ground.

What began in 2008 with a few thousand dollars provided by a Westphal Mini-grant has transformed into the sustainable redevelopment of over 35,000 square feet of playground space for the K-8 students of the West Philadelphia public school. The playground project was developed as a participatory design project during three terms of Debra’s sustainable design course, where Drexel students worked with Blankenburg elementary students to develop ideas for an ideal playground. From those drawings, and input from the Blankenburg Principal and faculty, Interior Design graduate and undergraduate students designed a final plan for a schoolyard for play, fitness and learning. 

Our congratulations to Professor Ruben, the Blankenburg School, and Drexel alumna Carol Chew of the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) for creating a project that was not only a great learning opportunity, but one that will make a meaningful impact on one of our neighboring West Philadelphia communities.

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