New Community Schoolyard Unveiled in Sunset Park

Today, Trust for Public Land, the New York City School Construction Authority, and the Department of Environmental Protection are proud to celebrate the opening of the newest green Community Schoolyard in Brooklyn at the joint campus of P.S. 503: The School of Discovery and P.S. 506 The School of Journalism & Technology.

Built with green infrastructure, the schoolyard will absorb rain and snow that falls on it, estimated at approximately 620,000 gallons annually, to help reduce neighborhood flooding and improve the health of NY Harbor.

“Parks not only provide opportunities for children and families to gather to play, learn, and exercise but are critical spaces to encourage social connection for entire communities,” said Tamar Renaud, New York State Director for Trust for Public Land. “Thanks to the dedicated efforts from students and community members to design this space, the newly redesigned schoolyard will open new doors for students at Sunset Park and create a healthier, more resilient neighborhood for all.”

The new design features a turf field, several rows of trees in permeable pavers, seating under two large shade structures, tables, bench seating surrounding an outdoor classroom and rest area, two practice hoops, color seal art – all encapsulated within a three-lane multicolor track. The site also received a new ramp to assist those students with disabilities, to ensure everyone can experience and benefit from time outside.

“By including green infrastructure to absorb all the rain and snow that falls on the schoolyard, the student designers are helping to reduce neighborhood flooding and improve the health of NY Harbor,” said DEP Deputy Commissioner of Sustainability Angela Licata. “Climate change is causing more intense storms and Western Brooklyn was hit hard last September by Tropical Storm Ophelia so we are so pleased that this new green infrastructure schoolyard is now open as an important community resource.”

“The creation of the new Healthy Schools category in our 2025-2029 Capital Plan is a commitment to providing students with an environment that is not only conducive to learning, but also prioritizes their well-being and physical fitness,” SCA President and CEO, Nina Kubota said. “The $60 million included in the Capital Plan will help children access outdoor play spaces that are essential for their holistic development, fostering physical activity, social interaction, and imaginative play. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with TPL as they continue to transform schoolyards into beautiful, vibrant green spaces where everyone is welcome during and after school hours.”

Additionally, TPL partnered with Groundswell to design and install a mural along the wall on the 4th avenue side of the yard. The mural depicts the students reoccurring interest in elements of nature and animals. The combined symbol of the sun/sunflower as the centerpiece illustrates not only nature/floral aspects, but also the namesake of the Sunset Park community where the school is located. A community painting day was held before the opening, bringing together students and community members to help contribute to the painting and installation of the mural.

“I’m thrilled to see the playground at P.S. 503/506 get a much needed rehabilitation,” said Council Member Alexa Avilés. “This playground is in the heart of our district and has served countless families in our community over the years. I’m grateful to the school leaders and all the stakeholders in getting this work over the finish line.”

These schoolyard renovations were also contributed to with support from the Charina Foundation.

“Vibrant green spaces for students and the community to connect through art, nature, and outdoor activities are critical to healthy, thriving communities in NYC,” said the Charina Foundation. “We’re proud to support Trust for Public Land’s work to bring this new community resource to the people of Sunset Park.”

Access to the outdoors for sport and play is a fundamental human need, essential to our health and well-being, and is an important tool in mitigating the effects of climate change. And yet, 100 million people, including 28 million kids, do not have access to a quality park within a 10-minute walk from home. The parks we do have are often not equitable. On average, parks in communities of color in the U.S. are half the size, lower quality, and in many instances more prone to flooding than parks serving predominantly white neighborhoods.

Since 1996, TPL’s NYC Playgrounds Program has helped design and build 227 school and community playgrounds across the five boroughs.

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 they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,420 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $94 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit