Rebuilding our Schoolyard
In September of 2017 we were proposed with the idea of having our schoolyard rebuilt and turned into a community park by The NY Trust for Public Land. In order to have this happen, we had to get our students on board with the idea. We needed a committee of students to work on this project and asked students in our school to write an essay on why they wished to be on this committee.
With the help of Mary Alice Lee and Maddelena Polletta, from The Trust For Public Land, students and staff on the committee measured the School Yard and began to look over the possibilities of what it could become.
The students at The Louis Armstrong Middle School went to an auditorium program where they discussed the ideas of what a new and improved GREEN schoolyard could look like. For the students that would part-take in the committee, they were asked to write an essay and explain their reasons for wanting to be part of this committee and their goal(s) for the project. After the team was selected, the next few months were spent reviewing and surveying the school yard (size and conditions), and obtaining input, through a survey, from the student body and local community as to what features in a schoolyard were most important for them.
It was time for our committee to visit a school that already had their schoolyard redone. We planned a trip to IS 185. It was raining that day; we toured the school yard, then went into a classroom to discuss and look over their plans with their planning committee.
In November, 2017 our Design Committee reviewed the results of the student survey and continued working on the school yard design. We were given samples of the synthetic grass turf and the roof of the gazebo. The student designers messed around and were able to design various models of playgrounds.
Our December 2017 design meeting took place in the school cafeteria, where we put our two design concepts up on the wall and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of both.
The students in the school voted on a design and it was now up to the contractors to make the idea come to life. In May, 2018 we met with contractors out in the schoolyard. They gave our committee their concerns and then made a bid on the project. The company with the lowest bid would get the contract to build our Sports Complex.
At the beginning of June 2018 we broke ground for our new Sports Complex. There were speeches and shovels of soil as the idea of not having a school yard to play in for the next school year was now becoming a reality.
Over the Summer of 2018, the contractors tore up the ground and replaced it with trees, a running track, gazebo, climbing area and sitting space; not to mention the new volleyball, handball and basketball courts. The contractors worked incredibly fast. By October, 2018 the project was almost finished.
Part of our project was to bury a Time Capsule, which is to be opened in 2038. We put a 2018 yearbook, list of students, photos, and soo much more into it.
It was time for our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in November 2018 for our brand new Sports Complex and it was time to bury our Time Capsule under the Gazebo. Borough President Katz, Carter Strickland - NYS Trust for Public Land, Rachel Pratt- NY Road Runners, Mary Alice Lee - Trust for Public Land and Principal Ponella gave speaches as well as three of our committee members. On hand were other members of the Road Runners Club to officiate the first use of our new running track
The Louis Armstrong Middle School (LAMS) Community Playground [Armstrong Sports Complex] was designed by students, staff, parents and community members through The Trust For Public Land's NYC Playground Program. This Playground/Sports Complex was made possible through a partnership with DOE, SCA, DEP, NYRR ans Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and includes trees, a turf field, pervious pavers and a time capsule. The Trust For Public Land's NYC Playgrounds Program has designed and/or build over 200 school and community playgrounds across the five boroughs.