November 16, 2010 — On Tuesday, November 16th, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new playground at the Blankenburg public school in West Philadelphia, a project fostered by Interior Design Professor Deb Ruben in her participatory design classes. Over the course of three terms, Professor Ruben and her interior design students developed plans for more than 35,000 square feet of dilapidated outdoor space designing a multi-use play space for students at the Rudolph Blankenburg K-8 public school at 46th and Girard. Invitations are out to numerous dignitaries in the city government and school system to attend the happy occasion.
What began in 2008 with a few thousand dollars provided by a Westphal Mini-grant is now a completed redevelopment of the playground and recreational space. Drexel students worked with Blankenburg elementary students and teachers to develop concepts 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.
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, sponsored and created by Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program. In addition $250,000 was donated by the School District for new basketball courts and a track. 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 experiential learning project, but one that will make a meaningful impact on one of our neighboring West Philadelphia communities.