The Lloyd Street schoolyard, like many urban playgrounds, was largely covered with asphalt pavement. ECT helped heal the broken bond between students and nature through the creation of an environmental learning laboratory. The pavement was removed and replaced with a rain garden. An outdoor classroom rises out of the rain garden with a small dry stack edge wall using blocks of reclaimed concrete pavement. All students had the opportunity to participate in that installation process by leaving a handprint in the freshly poured concrete.
The design of the rain garden started with a workshop that included school staff as well as the Milwaukee Public School District, the Walnut Way community group, and the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation. After review and synthesis of existing conditions and program objectives, the team placed the rain garden in the center of the schoolyard, where it would receive runoff from the entire remaining pavement. The existing running track painted on the pavement was left in place and defined the shape of the rain garden.
Funding for the project was secured by the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 grant.