For Immediate Release
December 3, 2010
“Rings of Saturn” to Receive $458,998 for Community School Park Project
Saturn Elementary School Blazes Trail for New Community School Park Concept
Los Angeles – Rings of Saturn, Inc., a non-profit corporation formed by community members for the benefit of Saturn Elementary School, will be the beneficiary of a $458,998.00 award from the State’s Strategic Growth Council as part of the Urban Greening Program, utilizing Prop 84 funding. The award will be used for the construction of a Community School Park (CSP), an innovative concept that transforms asphalt school campuses into park-like settings for use by schools as well as members of the community after school hours. The award represents approximately 50% of the projected budget and is expected to be matched by Measure Q funding through Los Angeles County as part of a joint use relationship between the Rings of Saturn, L..A. Unified School District and Beyond The Bell. The project will be managed by the Rings of Saturn in collaboration with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, who will play a vital role in guiding the non-profit through the process.
The Community School Park concept was set in motion 20 months ago when the City Council and L.A. Unified School District approved four schools, Calvert Street, Beethoven Street, Vine Street and Trinity Street to launch the pilot program. Saturn Elementary School now joins the ranks of this trail-blazing group and will more than likely be the first of the schools to be fully funded by late spring and begin construction at the summer break.
The pilot program is a timely and sorely needed response to the current harsh economic conditions. Local government and public agencies will be struggling for years to provide basic human services, especially in communities that need them the most. CSPs offer a model of how public agencies can share expertise and resources with the private sector, nonprofits like the Rings of Saturn, and community organizations to improve education and expand green space to the benefit of not only the school but to the community as a whole. The success of this project and others like it will set a precedent and instill confidence in further developing public / private relationships.
With input from the community, the Rings of Saturn’s Advisory Team delivered an extensive list of elements to be included in the overall vision. The impressive master design plan for the Saturn Elementary School Parkwas then crafted by Rogerio Carvlaheiro, the principal and founder of the RD Design Federation, who offered his services pro bono. Mr. Carvalheiro’s recent endeavors include serving as Senior Project Manager for the renovation of the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, and Project Director for the inspirational restoration of the famed Los Angeles Union Station.
The advisory committee formed by the Rings of Saturn include some of the best talent the community has to offer – all have donated their services. Members of the advisory committee include: Rogerio Carvalheiro,AIA Associate, RC Design Federation; Mud Baron, Green Policy Director, LAUSD; Michael Shearin, Senior Designer, Lexington; Katie Rogers, Campus Forestry Manager, Tree People; Sheela Mathai, Park Planner,L.A. County Parks and Recreation Dept.; George Pessin, L.A. County Master Gardener; Teresa Dahl,Environmental Ombudsman, LAUSD; Jamie Heitner, Designer, Urban Studio; Brenna Lyons, L.A. County Master Gardener; Elise Holstein, Landscape Designer; Emily Woodward, L.A. County Master Gardener;Jerome Smith, Certified Arborist; Casey Hughes. LEED Design Professional; Meryl Rizzotti, Nurse, Saturn Elementary School; Tracie Bryant, Principal, Saturn Elementary School; Juliet Smith, Assistant Principal,Saturn Elementary School; Courtney Carter, 2nd grade teacher, Saturn Elementary School. The day-to-day operations of the project will be conducted by the founding members of the Rings of Saturn who also volunteer their time: Melissa Patrick, Solar Customer Interconnections Manager, Southern California Edison; Rayna Saslove, Executive Producer, The Change Machine; Scott McNeely, Principal, Palmarium Design, and past president of the Pico Neighborhood Council; Desiree Lopez, Parent Liaison, Saturn Elementary School;Ashley Thompson, local business owner.