When students came back to campus this month they were greeted with several improvements to our grounds and classrooms. We asked Facilities Manager Dan Miller to show us around. “The biggest thing is that we’re trying to expand our outdoor usage,” Dan explained, pointing to tents, new quadrant markers (to delineate where pods can play) on the field, and other features throughout the grounds. But as you will read below, there are improvements taking place inside as well.
A Sunshade that Beats the Heat
The tables in our outdoor classroom used to bake in the hot sun, but today students can enjoy learning and lunches under a new sunshade. “Now it’s actually comfortable to use,” Dan said. A landscaping company is making further improvements to the walkway around this patio area so it’s easier to travel and sheds less gravel.
Landscaping in the Peace Circle
Students turned the Peace Circle into a place of imagination and wonder last spring and we brought in landscapers to build upon that idea while managing weeds and maintaining safety in the space. So it’s more organized than it was at the end of the school year but there is still plenty of room for creative play. “We put some logs out here and the students move them around regularly,” Dan said, “and we’ll keep adding new elements over time.”
Blooming Beds with Fewer Weeds
Remember that call for cardboard from Dan last fall? The beautiful gardens in front of the school are where some of your boxes went! “The cardboard really did hold for longer than I thought it would, and I will do that again this fall,” Dan said. (So save your boxes!)
Welcoming the Guinea Fowl Home
As mentioned last year, we are taking a new approach to tick management with the addition of a family of guinea fowl who prowl the campus managing our insect population with their voracious appetites. Dan built them a home that they return to at night but they have free range of the property during the day. On Tuesday he noted, “This morning, Tess's class was working outside and the guineas were calmly pecking around in the grass right in the middle of them all. They really seem to be adjusted!”
Fresh Paint to Brighten Rooms
Every classroom has a fresh splash of color this year thanks to accent paint on the windowed walls. The multipurpose room was also repainted from floor to ceiling. We had some trouble securing paint thanks to supply chain delays over the summer but were able to get every room painted just in time for our first day back.
A New Middle School Bathroom
This week we opened a brand new bathroom on the Middle School wing which should alleviate some of the traffic to other bathrooms throughout the building.
A Meeting Space for Teachers
With everyone back in the building but physical distancing still a priority, we needed a room large enough for teachers to meet and work and the Gathering Space right next to the Multipurpose Room fit this bill. It has been transformed into a teacher’s lounge and is already quite popular with the staff.
Maintaining a school is a never-ending job and we appreciate the work of Dan and the support of our Director of Finance, Carmen Johnson, both of whom put a lot of time and energy into beautifying our campus for our return this year.