SALT Design Studio's rendering of the proposed layout for the new STEM school yard.

For at least 50 years, the half-acre play space at Chester A. Arthur School in South Philadelphia has been a paved asphalt lot, with little more than a playground and a basketball court for children to utilize. 

But that will all change this summer, as a new $1.7 million outdoor green space dedicated to STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – instruction comes to the school thanks to the efforts of the school's friends group, the William Penn Foundation, the Philadelphia Water Department and donations from the community.

"I think this is the first of its kind in the nation. I've done a lot of research and I haven't seen anything like this," said Luz Cardenas, a spokeswoman for the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, a nonprofit that works to provide partnerships between public and private entities to benefit the school district. 

The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia helped facilitate the partnerships to make the project a reality, she said. Read the full PhillyVoice story here.