Students at Burlington Elementary are ready for their future careers as designers, engineers, city planners, and innovators. Through a partnership with the City of Longmont, students and community are collaborating to design a vision for a new park on Longmont’s southwest border.
This new park will be in the Werteman Neighborhood which is located southwest Longmont, close to the Innovation Center. It is currently the oldest neighborhood in Longmont that does not have a park within a one-half mile.
Kerin McClure, Principal, Burlington Elementary and Steve Ransweiler, Senior Project Manager for the City of Longmont, have worked together to gather community input for this exciting new project. Three community meetings were held at Burlington Elementary with the objective to present the information about the new park, solicit public input, and to develop a master plan for the new Wertman Neighborhood Park.
When Mr. Ransweiler showed interest in receiving feedback from the students, Kerin and her staff decided this would be a great opportunity for students to engage in a schoolwide Design Thinking Challenge. Every grade level took a different approach. Through the design thinking process, each student empathized with end user rather than thinking about what they as a child wanted in the park, student’s had to think about all of the different people that would be using this park, and what are some of the things these people might need in the park. Students went through each step of the design thinking process and once they came with their design, they prototyped it to share their summary with Mr. Ransweiler. The upper grade levels also integrated personal financial literacy curriculum, and they looked at what the budget would be for the new park.
“The opportunity to collaborate in an authentic design process was invaluable for our students,” said McClure. “I was so proud that our students focused on the experience of the end user and thought about all the people who would be using the park – not just the experience they would have. This was a true community effort and we appreciate Steve and all the work he put into the success of this project for our students.”
After collaborating with the community through a series of public meetings and an online survey, the preferred park concept has been unveiled by the City of Longmont which can be found on www.longmontcolorado.gov.
From a Student’s perspective: What did you think about the Park Project?
“I thought it was really fun. We worked as a group and we all had turns and tried our best. We planned it first. Everyone got to contribute. We didn’t want waste so we created a “recycling hill” that would be covered with dirt. We also included a pond and we each got to decide something we wanted to put in the pond like ducks and a boat.” – Junie, Grade 2
“I liked being able to give ideas for a new park design and share ideas with my group. Prototyping was my favorite part because I got to build things that would be good in the new park.” – Owen, Grade 4
“It was really fun to get to build structures when we prototyped. I enjoyed the ideation phase. It was one of my favorite parts because we got to brainstorm ideas.” – Talyia, Grade 4
“I liked that we got to give our ideas about the new park that’s coming up. We got to build and come up with our own ideas like an ice cream shop or laser tag.” – Adrian, Grade 4