Design of an Outdoor Learning Space for Girls Inc.

WSP Team: Jaylene Castro-Contreras, Maddie Davis, Joanna Aguilar, Sarah Uddin

2021-2022: In collaboration with WSP, this student team designed an outdoor learning space for the Girls Inc. facility in Worcester, MA. A national nonprofit committed to empowering girls in grades K-12, Girls Inc. Worcester desires a safe and secure space for outdoor activities that requires minimal set-up and maintenance and can withstand varying weather conditions.

After researching outdoor learning theory and collecting input from Girls Inc. members, the team defined key design requirements related to space, accessibility, safety, and functionality. The team generated many conceptual designs with different themes and layouts, and iteratively narrowed to one conceptual design based on their selection criteria and feedback from Girls Inc. The team then selected design components, completing calculations to size and confirm stability for the structural and drainage elements. The final design package included details for the pavement, fencing, retaining wall, rain garden, shade structure, and shed, in addition to the proposed design layout and stormwater piping. The team delivered their design package, cost estimates, and recommended next steps to WSP and Girls Inc.