Photo Credit: Niki Boon

July 29, 2019

Lakeview CPS School’s Playground Gets $1 Million Makeover Thanks To 200 Volunteers & Funders

The once-flooded, broken playground at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy now features new equipment and a new learning garden.

To read the article, click here.

April 27, 2019

Hello Hawthorne Families, Friends and Neighbors,

It is with great pleasure that we announce our playground project will break ground next week!  Construction is set to begin Monday April 29th. While construction is underway we will have full access to the turf, parking lot and pathways. The current playground and chess table area will be demolished and the work zone will be fenced for safety.

In order to renovate the entire space north of the turf, we have secured funding through CPS, OSIF funds, aldermanic funds, community and Hawthorne PTA fundraising. We have, also, been awarded 3 grants: The Kompan Matching Grant , The Big Green Garden Grant and the Build it with KaBOOM! Grant.

Features of our new Hawthorne Community Nature and Play Gardens include:
-Kompan Explorer Dome
-Kompan Arc Tunnel
-Two Embankment Slides with an outcropping stone feature
-A Willow Hut
-Balance logs
-A new chain link fence and 2 gates for safer points of entry
-Swings -An interactive pathway that features games and relocation of personalized brick pavers
-A raised bed garden with seating for a classroom and so much more! (Please see the images below for more detailed information).

Through the Build it with KaBOOM! Grant, we will add to this list of playground features.  The grant will cover the area where the current playground exists. We will kick off our KaBOOM! Build with a Design Day on May 9th.  Dates for our community build are set for July 23rd, 24th, and 25th. The first 2 prep days begin at 7:00/8:00 and end around 4:00 (we may not need to meet as long on the second day if we accomplish what is needed on the first day).  The final build day begins at 8:30 with a ribbon cutting at 2:30. Children are invited to the ribbon cutting portion only. If you would like to volunteer for any number of these July dates please email Kim O’Malley at or  Please specify the date(s) you are able to volunteer.  We need 25 volunteers for both July 23rd & 24th and 100 volunteers for July 25th.  You must complete CPS Level 2 volunteer requirements in order to be eligible to volunteer, an easy process that requires a few minutes and your ID.  Use this link to complete a volunteer application:

Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers and donors that have brought us to this point. Our goal has been to create a space that brings our community together, fosters a love of the outdoors, and allows children the space they need to play freely. We truly hope you will love this new extension of our school and look forward to all the great moments we will share in it.


A BIG thank you to Whole Foods Lakeview for donating $7,115.40 to the Hawthorne Playground Fund. We are grateful to everyone that came out to shop on October 18th. Thank you, also, to our incredible Jazz band and singers!

We are happy to partner with L&L Academy to make the Playground Project a reality. L&L has donated $3360 to the playground fund! Thank you!!

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Loose Parts Playdate! We raised nearly $1000 for the playground and had a lot of fun!

Here are the latest updates on the playground:

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Our team of teachers, administrators, parents, and community members have been working to raise money for our playground project. To date, we have raised 670K. The full scope of our project is projected to cost 930K; therefore, the work will be completed in two phases. Phase 1 includes the following elements:

  • Large-scale climbing structure

  • Embankment slide

  • Swings

  • New fencing and gates to protect/enclose entire perimeter of the playground

  • Balance logs

  • Artificial turf and poured rubber surfacing throughout

  • Relocated little house that is currently on-site

  • Placement of personalized bricks on new pathway

  • Painted games on new pathway

  • Willow-tree 'hut'

  • Upside-down tree pathway (similar to that at Maggie Daley Park)

The current playground will be demolished in Phase 1 and the area prepped for Phase 2.  Phase 2 will add an outdoor classroom, a play structure, a gaga ball pit, a basketball hoop, picnic table seating, and a birds nest swing. For more specific information about the design, please visit

The project went out to bid in August, and the bids came in above our budget (750K, 850K & 1M). CPS will re-bid the project soon in the hopes that a contractor will meet our budget. In the meantime, we are working with the community to raise more money. This project has an incredible amount of momentum; we simply need to keep the wheels in motion and work together to close the funding gap. There will be several opportunities to contribute in fun ways, beginning with the following events:

1. Loose Parts Pop-Up Playdate

This event will take place at the Hawthorne Playground on September 29 from 1-4pm.   Purple Line Adventure Play will host the event. It will be a fun afternoon for children to play, explore, and create with loose parts (boxes, tape, cardboard tubes, fabric, rope, etc.). If you've never heard of 'loose part play,’ do a quick Google search and you will be amazed! Space is limited and there is a suggested donation of $20/child, with the option to give more or less. All donations go directly to the playground fund. Look for a flyer in your child's backpack this week.

2. Whole Foods Give Back

Lakeview Whole Foods has graciously decided to host a give-back day to support our new playground! Please save the date: OCTOBER 18. Events will be held throughout the day in the store and 5% of the total sales from the day will go directly to our playground fund.  More information to follow!

If you are interested in contributing your time or would like to be a part of our committee, please email Kim O'Malley at It takes a village, and we welcome your thoughts and help!

June 29 - Thank you Kompan! This week our playground was awarded a $50,000 grant from Kompan, a playground equipment designer. Kompan's goal is to help create and shape happier and healthier communities by offering excellent play and sport & fitness solutions for people of all ages and abilities. 



The Playground Committee will host a presentation on the project June 12th after the LSC meeting in the library.  All are welcome.  We would love to answer any questions you may have!

On June 26, 2018 the Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation will hold a formal vote to designate Open Space Impact Fee funding to our project.  Please see the agenda below.

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