In November, preliminary plans were presented for the redevelopment planned for the Bok School at 1901 S. 9th St. Now thanks to a large grant being awarded to the project’s developer, Lindsey Scannapieco, by the Knight Foundation’s Knight Cities Challenge, you can also expect to see improvements in the area surrounding this 340,000 sq. ft. school.
With the receipt of this $146,960 grant, the area surrounding the school will be seeing improvements including a new bus shelter, a dog park, a bike repair station and more that is intended to transform the grounds into the “South Philly Stoop.”
When presenting the initial plans for this project, one of the major concepts emphasized by Scannapieco was that of “public living rooms.” These living rooms are spaces that are for bringing together and improving the community surrounding this school. The money received from this Knight Cities Challenge grant will go towards doing just that.
To connect with the community, there will be a series of engagement sessions, to be held in June, where the team developing the Bok School will work with students of Southwark Elementary to determine what the term “living room” means to them and their daily lives.
Another way of interacting with the community with this project is the plan to have StoryCorps come to South Philly to record the stories of those in the surrounding community.
The grant money would fund several improvements, including extending the gym floor from inside the building to the outside to create an outdoor, stoop-like space for neighbors to hang out and interact. We’re not yet clear exactly how that will be completed, but it’s being proposed for the Mifflin Street side facing Southwark Elementary across the street.
There will also be a new bus shelter for the 47 bus route at the corner of 9th and Mifflin, a bike repair station for simple repairs and pumping up tires, and even a dog park.
An upcoming public meeting will discuss remapping plans for the Bok Technical School site in accordance with suggestions being made from the South District Plan. The suggestion from the South District Plan was to remap the location to be IRMX, which is a new zoning district that would allow for a mix of residential, commercial and artisan industrial usage.
Scannapieco will be at the meeting to present her plans for the development of Bok in accordance with the proposed remapping. The meeting is being held on Wednesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. at the Neumann-Goretti Auditorium.
What do you think of the plans for the use of this grant money to create community “living rooms” surrounding the Bok School?