Groundbreaking Ceremony Marks Transformation of Alain Locke Schoolyard into Vibrant Community Hub

Trust for Public Land (TPL) is pleased to announce the groundbreaking for the revitalization of the schoolyard at Alain Locke School into a dynamic community space. This event signifies a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to enhance the quality of life for residents of Philadelphia.

Located in the heart of West Philadelphia, Alain Locke School has long been a cornerstone of the community. With a commitment to fostering learning and community engagement, TPL has partnered with Locke Elementary and various stakeholders to reimagine the schoolyard as a multifunctional space that will serve as a catalyst for social, recreational, and educational activities.

“We are thrilled to break ground on this transformative project that will not only benefit the students of Locke Elementary but also the entire community,” said Owen Franklin, Pennsylvania State Director for Trust for Public Land. “By transforming the schoolyard into a vibrant community hub, we aim to create a space where families can gather, children can play, and neighbors can connect.”

The transformation of the schoolyard will include the installation of new play equipment, green infrastructure elements, and outdoor classrooms. These enhancements will not only provide students with a safe and engaging environment for learning and play but also create opportunities for residents of all ages to come together, connect with nature, and lead active lifestyles.

The schoolyard will be open to the public after school hours and designed to meet the needs of the more than 7,000 people who live within a 10-minute walk.

“I am thrilled to celebrate this investment in Alain Locke Community Schools playground,” said Mayor Cherelle Parker. “By bringing transformative changes to the schoolyard, we are accomplishing two important things: providing students and kids in the neighborhood a safe place to play and taking another step toward making Philadelphia a cleaner and greener city. Thank you to the Trust for Public Land and our partners for putting the energy into this project and making it a reality.”

In 2017, Alain Locke was named one of Philadelphia’s Community Schools. Community Schools are a partnership among the City of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, and school communities to remove barriers to learning and support the success of each student. In each Community School, a Community School Coordinator supports strategic partnerships and programs that promote wellness, stability, and learning opportunities for students, families, and neighbors.

“The playground we are about to build isn’t merely a collection of trees and field of turf; it’s a testament to our collective vision—a vision that recognizes the importance of investing in our children, our future leaders, and innovators. It’s a vision that understands the power of play in shaping young minds and fostering creativity, resilience, and teamwork,” said Baretta Massey, Principal, Locke Elementary.

The groundbreaking ceremony will feature remarks from key stakeholders, including representatives from TPL, Locke Elementary School, local government officials, and community leaders. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the vision for the revitalized schoolyard and celebrate this exciting milestone.

TPL extends its gratitude to all partners and supporters who have contributed to making this project a reality, including Drexel University, the Philadelphia Water Department, the City of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Spark Therapeutics, Boeing, Alterra Property Group, David Adelman, Spring Point Partners, American Securities, Bradford Tobin, and the generous family and friends of Libby Tobin.

“Soon, the Locke schoolyard will be greener and join the many schoolyards in Philadelphia and nationally that are part of a movement to integrate green stormwater infrastructure and advance climate, equity, and education outcomes,” said Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Randy E. Hayman. “I’m proud to say Philadelphia is a leader in bringing green infrastructure to schoolyards because we care deeply about our water and our children.”

“Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is pleased to support the Community Schoolyard project at Alain Locke School through the Healthier Together Initiative. This revitalized schoolyard will be a welcoming place for Locke students to play and exercise and the whole community to gather safely,” said Vanesa Karamanian, M.D., Director of Healthier Together at CHOP. “Research shows that creating green spaces can reduce gun violence, foster new educational experiences, and deepen community connections. This positive impact demonstrates that place-based investment is critical to creating safer and healthier communities.”

About Trust for Public Land

Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where it is needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit