As part of the Spaces to Grow program, Leland Elementary site and playground was renovated and enhanced to improve storm water drainage and enhance the play environment. Upland Design worked as part of a team for the Chicago Public Schools to renovate the outdoor spaces and playground. Funded in part by the City of Chicago Department of Water Management and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the site enhancements improve the management of rainfall and runoff with green storm water infrastructure.
At the same time, the outdoor school yard is enriched with outdoor garden space, seating, raised garden beds, native plantings and new recreational components. Elements include outdoor classroom and meeting spaces, playground pavement games, basketball areas, play equipment, running track, and a large hill area of rubber surfacing. Raised planters were incorporated to add a hands on element to the curriculum. The project won a Friends of the Chicago River Silver Ribbon.