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Broadous Elementary School

Broadous Elementary School

For many years, flooding periodically reduced attendance at Broadous Elementary School in Pacoima. But then a multi-stakeholder group, comprising TreePeople, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Department of Water and Power, Pacoima Beautiful, the City Council district, landscape architects, and the engineering firm of Montgomery Watson Harza, worked together to create a more sustainable and flood-free campus. Using a combination of best management practices (BMPs), the school was retrofitted to capture, treat and hold all the rainwater onsite. The installation allows captured water to soak slowly into the ground, eliminating stormwater problems and naturally recharging the aquifer.

Completed in early 2001, the Broadous design included the replacement of over thirty percent of the school's asphalt with strategically planted trees, permeable groundcover, swales, and an infiltration system beneath a much-needed playing field. Incorporating strategies that mimic natural watershed ecosystems, the project has provided a wide range of benefits. Students and faculty enjoy additional recreational space, cooler classrooms (from tree shading), reduced energy use, increased attendance, an onsite educational watershed model, and a sense of pride in their model school.

Broadous Elementary School The Broadous system is currently being monitored as part of a multi-year water augmentation study in the Los Angeles region. One area of interest is the effectiveness of the separator and infiltration system in filtering out pollutants before feeding stormwater to the aquifer. To aid the effort, TreePeople worked with the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council, the Upper Los Angeles River Area Watermaster, and Montgomery Watson Harza to coordinate the installation of monitoring wells upstream and downstream of the BMPs.

Broadous Elementary School before the project
A view of Broadous before the project - an asphalt playing field

A green playground
A green playground - just one of the many benefits of the campus retrofit. Broadous teachers have commented that the project has helped increase attendance and school pride and improve students' classroom performance.