Bessie Carmichael Receives Green Infrastructure Grant to Become the Next Green Schoolyard

“Green infrastructure projects play a critical role in helping the SFPUC reach out long-term sustainability goals,” said SFPUC Green Infrastructure Grant Program project manager, Sarah Bloom.

Bessie Carmichael Middle School was awarded $428,075 from the SFPUC’s Green Infrastructure Grant Program. This grant will transform the school’s asphalt play space into an educational stormwater schoolyard with rain gardens that will manage approximately 275,000 gallons of stormwater per year in the Channel Watershed. 

The SFPUC’s Green Infrastructure Grant Program encourages owners of large, impervious parcels in San Francisco to apply for grants to fund green infrastructure projects that manage stormwater and improve our collection system performance during wet weather. 

Dry creek bed with educational signage at R.L. Stevenson Elementary School provides an outdoor space for learning and playing.
The multipurpose stormwater schoolyard at R.L Stevenson Elementary School diverts stormwater runoff to a sunken permeable pavement amphitheater.

School districts are one of the largest land managers in every city across the United States. In California alone, more than 130,000 acres are managed by public school districts. San Francisco has identified schools as a critical partner to implementing green infrastructure citywide, understanding they provide a unique opportunity to manage stormwater while delivering significant co-benefits to students, teachers, and the community.

“Stormwater schoolyards,” also referred to as “green schoolyards,” are schoolyards that prioritize multipurpose infrastructure that delivers stormwater performance while enhancing children’s learning and play opportunities. They improve our urban watershed management while also creating engaging, natural environments that add to the resilience of our neighborhoods and communities.

“This project will not only improve the school’s stormwater collection system, it will also educate our next generation of residents on the importance of conservation and sustainability,” shared Bloom.

Stormwater from R.L Stevenson Elementary School’s downspouts flow to a dry creek bed.