New Outdoor Structures Offer More Than Shade
New outdoor shade structures that double as open-air learning spaces provide teachers a fresh opportunity for instruction outside the classroom. The installations — at Holmes and Riley elementary schools, as well as Bancroft and Hoover middle schools — launched the Long Beach Unified School District’s plan to place free-standing shade structures at nearly all campuses in the District.
Installations are underway at Newcomb Academy (K-8) and Hughes and Keller middle schools, and new structures will be placed at remaining LBUSD schools included in the plan over the next two years. Shade structures come with matching picnic benches.
The structures, which feature fabric canopies in the school’s colors, or playground equipment, will be positioned on playgrounds or near cafeteria buildings at campuses where students need additional sun protection during meals. Lakewood High School’s shade structure will be installed near the school’s new track and field and will function as an outdoor weight room.
Shade structures protect students from harmful UV rays, cut down heat radiated from asphalt, and reduce the heat island effect, which describes the occurrence of higher temperatures in urban versus rural areas. The structures also extend the life of equipment and outdoor surfaces, lowering LBUSD’s maintenance and replacement costs.
LBUSD’s new shade structures and picnic benches are backed by the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund allocated to the District. New bottle filling stations and the District’s new future-ready furniture are also covered by ESSER funds.
Shade structures and other facility improvements are part of LBUSD's Learning Acceleration and Support Plan, which aims to elevate the educational experience for all students and offer interventions to learners who need additional support. Other infrastructure improvements in the District's multiyear plan include programs to increase teacher support, and investments in technology.