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Healthy Neighborhood School Campus

2014-2015 PARTNERS: CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS, SULLIVAN HIGH SCHOOL AND KILMER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

In fall 2014, ARCHEWORKS began a multi-year design initiative with Sullivan High School and Kilmer Elementary School to create a healthy neighborhood school campus. Separated by North Shore Avenue, these two schools are located on adjacent blocks in the dense Rogers Park neighborhood, and serve primarily low-income youth without access to outdoor recreational space. This healthy campus initiative was inspired by the success of a new school-based health center and two new principals dedicated to improving the physical and mental health of students through prevention, nutrition, and fitness. The ARCHEWORKS design team was challenged with extending ideas of health and wellness beyond the school walls by connecting the two schools, reimagining the outdoor space, and promoting healthy activity among students, staff and community.

In the first year of collaboration, the design team developed a range of strategies to help our partner schools realize a vision for a connected neighborhood school campus. After investigating the urban context of the two schools and conducting field research with students, staff, and community members, the design team produced a framework for the healthy neighborhood school campus that employs a multi-phased approach. Tested by temporary installations and special events, more extensive site renovations and programming can be realized in the future. This phased approach allows the schools to make “quick wins” through actionable elements, while securing the resources necessary to make big and permanent changes. Low cost temporary installations and events also help build community support for larger investments in the future. Ideas such as a new outdoor walking circuit along public sidewalks focused on transforming the existing outdoor space to encourage a healthier lifestyle. They also proposed concepts to establish a connected campus between the two schools at North Shore Avenue, beginning with temporary interventions. A block party closing down the street in June 2015 will feature student-designed art installations, celebrate health and wellness, and gather community support.

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