Hawthorne STEAM Play Space Community Design Project

The Hawthorne Community is coming together to re-imagine the school’s outdoor space during the 2017-2018 school year. We believe this space can be more than a recess playground. It is a community gathering place, a place to connect with the outdoors, and a place for open-ended learning. More importantly, the process of envisioning, designing, and building a playground is more than a construction project. It is an opportunity to bring a school’s community together, to generate a sense of ownership, and create a rich platform for student learning and legacy. Friends of Hawthorne PTA has partnered with the Pomegranate Center to lead our community through the design process — to distill our collective ideas into a shared vision, and create a master plan for the Hawthorne outdoor space.

This process will also serve as a platform to expand Hawthorne’s STEAM learning mission with project-based learning activities for student and families throughout the design and construction process.

This project is generously funded by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Community Partnership Fund.



less pavement
more shade
better neighborhood access
outdoor classroom
rain garden
quiet spaces

First Hawthorne STEAM Play Space Community Design Meeting Recap

Turnout was great at the (140 people!) If you missed the meeting but wanted to provide feedback or just came up with another great idea please use the Playground Feedback Form, but do it ASAP as the designers are going to start compiling the ideas soon.

The presentation from the meeting is available to view here:
Community Meeting #1 Presentation


STEAM Design lead by students



Hawthorne is a Creative Approach School that provides students with Project Based Learning opportunities aligned to academic standards through our STEAM Program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). This project will provide a tremendous platform for STEAM learning opportunity for the Hawthorne students. Students have the opportunity to take a direct role in the process working with professionals. Students will interact with design professionals during in-classroom and after-school project-based activities.

Activities with students and community members lead by Jason Medieros (spectabolis@yahoo.com) throughout the month of January 2018. 

 Current West Side of Hawthorne Playground along 39th Ave S = No access

Current West Side of Hawthorne Playground along 39th Ave S = No access

After School Activities at the Playground:
  Wednesday, 1/17    2:10-3:10
  Thursday, 1/18    2:20-4:20
  Friday, 1/19    2:20-4:20
  Monday, 1/22    2:20-4:20
  Tuesday, 1/23    2:20-4:20
  Wednesday, 1/24    1:10-4:30    Pop Up Playpod with Leon Smith

Project timeline

  • Three Community Design Meetings
    • Tuesday Jan 30, 6:00-8:00pm @ Hawthorne — 1st Community Design Meeting (Presentation Slides)
    • Thursday, March 29, 6:00-8:00pm @ Hawthorne — 2nd Community Meeting reviewing 3 design options (please note date change; this meeting was originally scheduled for March 27).
    • Thursday, April 26, 6:00-8:00pm @ Hawthorne — 3rd Community Design Meeting (coordinated with Hawthorne Family Health Night)
  • Construction Documents of the final design will be completed by end of June 2018
  • Grant requests for Phase 1 construction funding completed by end of June 2018
  • Construction of Phase 1 2018-2019 (exact schedule will depend on many factors)

Project Team

The Pomegranate Center has assembled a robust team that we are confident will not only help us create an amazing space, but also lead us in a design process that will strengthen our community and be rich with learning opportunities for our students. The team includes Pomegranate Center, Outdoor Classroom DesignEarthplay Design, and Herrera Environmental Consultants.

For more details on the project team, and see similar projects they have worked on, please read their Statement of Qualification.

City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Community Partnership Fund

The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) program was created to provide matching dollars for neighborhood improvement, organizing, or projects that are developed and implemented by community members. Core to the fund is the community match, which requires awardees to match their award with contributions from the community (volunteer time, donated materials, donated professional services or cash).

The City of Seattle granted $55,800 to Friends of Hawthorne PTA in 2017 to lead an extensive community engagement process to design a more welcoming and engaging exploration and play-space at Hawthorne Elementary School. We have committed to matching this grant with 1400 hours of our time, mostly through the three community meetings.