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State money for Jenks, Key outdoor place spaces

Abram Jenks Principal Siouda Douglas joins state Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler for a check presentation for new outdoor play spaces.

New outdoor play spaces are coming to a pair of South Philadelphia schools thanks to $275,000 of state funding secured by state Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler.

The Abram Jenks School at 2501 S. 13th St. and the Francis Scott Key School at 2230 S. 8th St. will both receive modern outdoor play and activity spaces with soft surfaces.

Fiedler first visited A.S. Jenks back-to-school night where she made the announcement of the new funding. About $150,000 will go to Jenks for the play space.

“When I first visited Jenks, over three years ago, the principal and teachers told me over and over how much they love their school, and that the one big missing piece for the school community was a place for the students to play during recess and after school,” Fiedler said. “I’ve worked tirelessly since then to secure these dollars to make their vision for a playground, a reality right here in South Philly. I’m thrilled to finally be able to bring back this money to Jenks.”

Longtime Jenks Principal Siouda Douglas said the students and staff are excited to enjoy the new addition.

“The AS Jenks community is so excited,” Douglas said. “I have been trying to get a playground for about 10 years, so this is a dream come true. This will lessen the injuries in our schoolyard from hard falls and scrapes on the concrete and will beautify our school. I am so grateful to Rep. Fiedler for making this happen.”

Neither Jenks nor Francis Scott Key, both located in Lower Moyamensing, have dedicated outdoor play spaces. Francis Scott Key will receive $125,000 for its new addition, which will include an artificial turf field in the place of its plain concrete lot.

(from left to right) Francis Scott Key School Program Coordinator Regina DeRosa, Principal Pauline Cheung and Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler hold up a check that will be used to provide outdoor play spaces at the school.

“Soccer is one of our preferred outdoor recess activities,” said F.S. Key Principal Pauline Cheung. “Being able to play soccer on artificial turf will be so beneficial to our students and the community. I envision families coming together to use the area.”

Cheung said she also has plans for an outdoor classroom in the future.

“This upgrade will provide our teachers an opportunity to conduct science lessons as well as host reading events in the space,” Cheung said.

The grants for Jenks and Key schools join a list of other funding that was appropriated to Fiedler’s district, which includes Kirkbride School, Southeast Youth Athletic Association, Edward O’Malley Athletic Association, Ford PAL, East Passyunk Community Center, Murphy Recreation Center, Dickinson Square Park and Mifflin Square Park. 

“It’s an honor to bring these state dollars home to make a difference for the children and families in our community,” Fiedler said.

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