JEFFERSON PARK — Recess is about to get a lot more fun at Beaubien Elementary School.
The far Northwest Side school, 5025 N. Laramie Ave., which includes a magnet program, will get a new playground to replace the blacktop-covered surface where students now play, Principal Michelle Ludford said.
"It is a great accomplishment for the parents who have worked so hard," Ludford said. "It is hard to get [the Chicago Public Schools] to fund these playgrounds."
Parents raised about $20,000 toward the playground, Ludford said.
The news that CPS will foot the bill for two play structures — one for the school's youngest students and one for older students — came about a week after Roberts Square Park, which is across the street from Beaubien, won all new equipment through the Chicago Park District's Chicago Plays! Playground Renovation program.
Although the school is only separated from the park by Laramie Avenue, students are not allowed to use it during the school day — unless they are on an approved field trip, according to CPS rules.
And a little more than a month ago, voters in the 45th Ward Participatory Budget process agreed to spend $183,000 to replace the blacktop at the school with a rubberized surface that will be safer for students.
"We hope the artificial turf had something to do with CPS' decision," Ludford said, adding that it showed the amount of support the school enjoys from the community.
Beaubien, which has a projected enrollment of 1,152 students next school year, is the largest school in the city without a playground or green space, CPS spokesman David Miranda said.
"The playground at Beaubien will serve more children in one location than anywhere else we put one in the district this year," Miranda said.
The district plans to build six playgrounds this year, Miranda said.
With construction set to begin in the fall, Ludford said she plans on forming a committee to choose between the design options offered by district officials.
Beaubien isn't the only school on the far Northwest Side without a playground.
About $50,000 has been raised so far for the playground at Thorp, said Katie Madden, a board member of Friends of Thorp.