Mayor unveils Soundview school playground

Principal Lorraine Carrol-Dawkins (at podium) speaks of the role of the playground as an outdoor classroom as (clockwise l-r) Mayor Mike Bloomberg; Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe; P.S. 138 custodial engineer John Franchi; assistant principal Ramon Nevers; and the P.S. 138 student council students, listen on. - Photo by Adam Bermudez

Students at one Soundview school are getting a playground finally fit for the modern age. 

On Wednesday, May 14, Mayor Mike Bloomberg traveled to P.S. 138 at Lafayette and Pugsley avenues, in Soundview, to unveil the first Bronx schoolyard renovated as part of his PlaNYC initiative, a comprehensive sustainability plan for the City’s future.

The Parks Department and Department of Education created the schoolyard’s design, along with the input from the school community. 

“Based on the feedback of the school’s student council, we were able to turn the space into a destination for recreation and relaxation,” the mayor said. “And we’ve done away with outdated equipment and done away with underused areas.  We’ve created a greener and more attractive playground that responds to how kids and adults want to use that space today.”

The $400,000 ADA-accessible playground features a rock-climbing wall designed for the young kids, as well as a “butterfly garden” that will attract the colorful insects, among other amenities.  

The playground will benefit P.S. 138 during the school year and the Episcopal Social Services program that rents space in the building during summer vacation.

“As a member of the community, I’m awed at how quickly this was put together,” said Soundview resident and P.S. 138 parent coordinator Mildred Jimenez.

The park will be open to the public from until dusk when school is not in session, providing much needed green recreational space in the community.

In addition to the school renovation, Jimenez mentioned her delight at the new trees she’s seen in her neighborhood, part of the mayor’s one million new trees initiative, of which 11 new additions adorn the school campus. 

The construction met the approval of the school’s custodial engineer John Franchi, who commented, “They did a fantastic job putting this together.”

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe commented on the innovative design of the space, specifically the sheet draining that keeps the water out of the city sewage system, while also watering the area’s vegetation. 

Principal Lorraine Carrol-Dawkins said, “We are extremely grateful to our mayor for his vision and commitment to ensuring that our children have a quality recreational space that is both clean and safe.”

Carrol-Dawkins commented on her own memories as a child playing and learning in city parks.

“The park was the outdoor classroom,” said the principal, “and the beauty of this outdoor classroom was that we taught each other many life skills we still use today.”

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