Showing posts with label Glen Oak Community Learning Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Glen Oak Community Learning Center. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grinnell Street Boys & Girls Club closed for security reasons


What does that tell us about the success of the Harrison School/Neighborhood Impact Zone?

The East Bluff Boys and Girls Club (shown in photo above) is already crammed full of kids, in an area where crime is just a little too normal (the Glen Oak School Neighborhood Impact Zone). They are confined to playing on a very small lot, directly across the street from the Glen Oak Community Center. Now the Boys and Girls Club is adding 60 children from the Grinnell Street location to the mix - is there even room? And why bus them from the Harrison area to the East Bluff, can't they make use of the Harrison School, birth-through-eighth grade Community Learning Center?

Boys and Girls Club's site closed for summer
About 60 children being transported to East Bluff due to security concerns

The Boys and Girls Club's Grinnell Street site near the old Harrison Homes is closed for the summer because of security reasons, according to Leslie Matuszak, the agency's director. Instead, employees or parents are transporting about 60 children daily from the Harrison Homes area to the Boys and Girls Club along Kansas Street in the East Bluff.

"We're primarily running everything from our East Bluff location, primarily because of safety and costs," Matuszak said.

The closing stemmed from concerns about the safety of staff, as well as children who walk back and forth to Boys and Girls Club programs during the summer. Though the club is not responsible for children en route, Matuszak said some children have been approached by drug dealers or bullies as they walked back and forth to the Grinnell site.

"I can't pay a security guard $28 an hour and that's the going rate," she said. Security is less of a problem when school is in session, Matuszak added. Increased activity in and around Harrison Community Learning Center acts as a safety buffer.

One mother, dropping her children off at a van parked at the Grinnell Street site Monday, said her children preferred the East Bluff location. She did not want her named used.

Though the Grinnell site is closed, the agency still offers some programs on the south side this summer. For instance, children walk to a tutoring and mentoring program the Boys and Girls Club offers at Manual Academy.

The summer closing has also resulted in adjustments in the maintenance of a teaching garden the club maintains at Harrison school. Originally, children from the Grinnell Street site would care for the garden during the summer months. Currently, Boys and Girls Club staff transports children from the Kansas Street site a few times a week.

The Grinnell Street location has been closed since mid-June and will reopen in mid-August. About 500 children are involved in the club's summer programs. Source

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It was supposed to be an oasis in the urban desert

... instead the new Glen Oak Community Learning Center looks like a desert. The grass is dead, newly planted trees are dead and the property was devoid of any activity on a beautiful summer day. A "four-city-block area" with dead grass all around.

It could be that the District doesn't have the funds to run the sprinkler system (assuming one was installed for brand new landscaping); or maybe it's because they can't afford the water bill.

Recall the hype: Glen Oak Community Learning Center In the very heart of Peoria’s historic East Bluff neighborhood, a four-city-block area is being profoundly transformed via a unique set of public and private partnerships. The crown jewel in this development is an all-new 126,000-square-foot Glen Oak School and Community Center that will serve pupils from birth through eighth grade. From both urban and architectural design perspectives, the school itself breaks new ground by providing an all-weather pedestrian street that links a two-story academic wing with a one-story community facility wing. This pedestrian way is on axis with Frye Street, an important east-west connector that extends all the way to Prospect Avenue on the eastern edge of the East Bluff, and to Knoxville Avenue on its western edge.

Back of Community Learning Center
Glen Oak’s all-weather pedestrian street is intended to serve as the nucleus for the entire four-block development. Both the school’s expansive media center (to the north) and its cafeteria and multi-purpose community space (to the south) open directly to this interior venue. In the academic wing to the north, integrated learning laboratories can be found on both levels, which can be used collaboratively by student groups across several classes and grade levels. In the community wing to the south, residents of the surrounding neighborhood can take a night class, utilize the full-service gymnasium, or enjoy an exercise routine while looking out over the public park.

The Glen Oak development does not stop with simply a new school building. It includes a new public park (above the 110 deep wells that were dug for the geothermal heating and cooling system serving the school), designed in cooperation with the Peoria Park District, and a coordinated ensemble of new streets and intersections around the perimeter of the four-block site, designed and built by the City of Peoria. Beyond these public stakeholders, the private businesses in the adjacent Wisconsin Avenue Business District have begun organizing themselves in an effort to provide a powerful and dynamic private-sector complement to all of these public sector inputs.

Frye Street side of Community Learning Center
The Glen Oak Birth—8th Grade Community Learning Center development represents all the best and most profound elements of sustainability. The new school itself includes a geothermal heating and cooling system, generous amounts of natural daylighting, extensive use of recycled materials and systems, numerous bioswales and other natural catchments, and other up-to-the-minute green features. More importantly, it returns a significant portion of formerly “developed” urban area to a “natural” state (in the form of a public park, school sports fields and several outdoor nature explorer classrooms). And, perhaps most critically, it rejuvenates and “recycles” an existing, older neighborhood taking full advantage of all of the embodied energy and infrastructure that such a neighborhood has to offer.