Community Schoolyards Program Expands

Trust for Public Land recently announced that its successful Community Schoolyards program will expand to Fulton County, Ga., in the 2023-2024 school year.

The program is a nationwide effort that aims to grow access to schoolyards during non-school hours to help increase the percentage of people who live within a 10-minute walk of a park. Access to parks in the metro Atlanta area has improved, but nearly half (49.7%) of Fulton County residents don’t have a park they can walk to in 10 minutes or less. This expansion of the Community Schoolyards program will begin to provide park access to those 546,229 residents.

“We are thrilled to begin this partnership and to provide new and updated outdoor spaces for our families and

children sit on rocks near a play area
Photo of a Schoolyard in Pennsylvania, Courtesy of Trust for Public Land

neighborhoods,” said Noel Maloof, COO of Fulton County Schools. “We’ve already begun engaging students, staff and community members in the process to design an inviting, accessible and safe space for school-day play and after hours recreation.

The first project selected by Fulton County Schools will be located at South Fulton’s Stonewall Tell Elementary School, The design process is complete, and ground will be broken later this year. Current plans include spaces for learning experiences, outdoor musical instruments, seating with shade structures and new climbing equipment.

The Conley Hills Elementary replacement site in East Point will begin design as the new school year starts, and a third school (as yet unidentified) will begin the community engagement process in Spring 2024.

Over the past few years, Trust for Public Land has worked with Atlanta Public Schools to design schoolyards at 10 schools. Five of these campuses have been completed and are now open to the public, while three are currently under construction, one will begin construction this fall, and one is still working through the design process.  

“We are excited about expanding this program and sharing what we learned from our pilot program with Atlanta Public Schools to create safe and inviting schoolyards throughout Fulton County,” said Jay Wozniak, director of Georgia Urban Parks for Trust for Public Land. “Hundreds of families will benefit from having greater access to nearby outdoor recreation areas.”

Read more about Trust for Public Land’s nationwide effort to improve community schoolyards and create access to parks.