Jamieson Elementary School was hoping for a new playground, among other necessary facility improvements. Coyne + Associates Architects was hired to design the school facility upgrades as well as the exterior site improvements, including a new playground.
Chicago Public Schools planned to utilize a playground construction program known as Groundbreakers that is comprised of CPS high school students that are gaining experience in “hands-on” construction, as well as allow the district to provide more playground construction throughout the city of Chicago than otherwise possible through traditional construction means.
With very tight summer construction schedules, the Groundbreakers were challenged to meet the required schedule of the overall construction project. Additional site work, including playground surfacing, landscaping, new asphalt, fencing, parking striping, and other work would still need to be completed after the playground and still prior to the opening day of school.
Giving Back to the Community
To support the overall project as well as giving back to the community, Coyne + Associates Architects offered to contribute towards the playground construction effort. Patrick Coyne, the principal, along with other Coyne + Associates employees, including project manager Stephanie Lockemann, performed construction duties such as digging, shoveling, bolting, holding, and placing concrete. Jennifer Mejia, the construction manager, lead the team of volunteers and professionals to work together placing and erecting the life-size toy set. Even Cory Davis, the Director of Capital Renovation and New Construction for Chicago Public Schools, pitched in to assemble the playground.
Patrick Coyne also recruited his son, James and his friend Dakotah (also CPS students) to pitch in with the efforts, allowing them to get “hands-on” experience while giving back to the community.
Reward of Volunteering
The work was a bit of a challenge; sweating in the heat of the summer, solving the “puzzle” of the playground system “kit-of parts”, and just getting done whatever needed to be done, even if you’ve never done it before. Even though we enjoyed a decent lunch break, by the end of the day most of us were exhausted.
There was such a great rewarding feeling on the opening day of the playground to watch the students, and general children in the community, LOVING the playground! The loud screams of joy and laughter were such a great reward to all of us that pitched in to make that possible!