Students in science teacher Laura Stamp’s class at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School have been working with me over the past school year on the design of a new Open-air Learning Center for the school’s courtyard.

Their design ideas for flexibility and a natural environment for outdoor learning have been instrumental in the design that will now be implemented. Amenities include reuse of materials, a waterfall fountain, native Illinois wildflowers and grasses, the preservation of existing trees and gardens, and a healthy learning environment with a green footprint for outdoor learning in two outdoor classrooms with flexible setups and uses.

The students and teacher deserve commendation for their ideas and determination to have such a useful and pleasant amenity available to all teachers and students at Brooks. We hope it will be an inspiration to other schools to implement a custom design for their students.

We hope to have the community’s support for the students as they move forward on their outdoor learning environment. I would be happy to assist other Oak Park schools to move forward on such a project on a pro-bono basis.

Richard Katz
Oak Park architect

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