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Cesar Chavez Education Center

Oakland USD

In collaboration with Miller Company Landscape Architect, Miracle Playsystems designed a custom nature inspired robinia wood structure with nets and log stumps for the playground at Cesar Chavez Education Center in the Fruitvale District. Even though the space was small, the play elements are large and challenging.

The playground is part of the new living schoolyard at the school which is the first in Oakland USD. The newly transformed living schoolyard removed 13,000 square feet of asphalt, and replaced it with natural play areas, a mini-grass field, 58 new trees to cool the playground and provide shade and seating areas for students, a bioswale designed to channel stormwater runoff and remove debris and pollution before emptying into the bay, and a new outdoor classroom complete with an orchard and planter boxes for teaching.

In 2017, the District partnered with The Trust for Public Land and Green Schoolyards America to launch a Living Schoolyards Initiative in Oakland to transform asphalt covered playgrounds into vibrant nature-based schoolyards. The $1,500,00.00 living schoolyard project at Cesar Chavez is one of the first fully built projects to demonstrate OUSD’s vision to transform asphalt-covered school grounds into spaces that promote children’s health and well-being, while creating green and ecologically rich community parks that connect children and their neighborhoods to the natural world outside their classroom door.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf attended the grand opening and said, “We are thrilled to celebrate the opening of the first living schoolyard at the Cesar Chavez Education Center. This new center advances Oakland’s goals of climate resiliency, environmental justice, and gives our students direct access to nature and all of its benefits. Taking our children out of the asphalt and into a vibrant nature-based environment is good for their health, education, and will help them develop lifelong environmental stewardship.”

Landscape Architect: Miller Company Landscape Architects

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