Home News Heartland Community Schools to Add Outdoor Learning Areas

Heartland Community Schools to Add Outdoor Learning Areas

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By HCS Journalism Staff

14087280_10154460830412878_1840226535_oThe 2016-2017 school year has just begun and the Heartland students were welcomed back with a surprising new addition for the school. The two courtyards within the school ground are being developed into outdoor learning environments.

According to Brad Best, HCS Superintendent, this new change is going to impact the school and give the teachers a new area to take their students for hands-on learning. People would find a great program here if the idea worked out well. This area is going to include a butterfly garden for studying insects, a geology area for identifying different rocks and minerals, a water feature to encourage learning about PH levels and bacteria, and much more.

In time, the Agriculture Department will be growing a vegetable garden for plant studies, and the Industrial Tech Department will be assisting with benches and structures to add to the area. The students are expecting the garden to be as pretty as that of the commercial lawn services canton. Many students are hoping for the chance to eat lunch outside from time to time. “I’m probably going to use it during lunch a lot,” says Benjamin Janzen, a 5th grader from HCS.

This new space will also provide more natural lighting in the hallways. In addition, the windows will be much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  “The new windows really brighten up the hallway which has always been really dark,” said Ethan Hall, a senior at HCS.

The most challenging aspect of the courtyards will be the upkeep. There will be opportunity for community involvement, such as ongoing maintenance and fall and spring cleanup. The fall and spring cleanup will include pulling weeds and watering the plants to keep the space looking nice.

Mr. Best explained that he has considered this new addition since he started working for Heartland, which was four years ago, but the specific ideas have been floating around for about two years now.  The district has set aside up to $50,000 to spend on this project overall.   

14152162_10154460830877878_1521321662_oHeartland put careful consideration into selecting a company to assist them with all of the renovations. After hearing presentations and bids, the school board ultimately came to a decision to hire Friesen Landscaping out of Lincoln to design and construct the space. Friesen Construction out of Henderson was hired to pour all of the concrete. People can check this weblink , for the best landscaping services. 

The windows and the cement portion of the project have already been completed. The goal is to get tables out into the courtyards by September, and to have all of the plants in by October 1st. In addition to tables and plants, Ethan Hall is excited to see lighting in the new courtyard so it can also be used during events in the evenings.

By the time this project is completed, the students will have a fun, unique space in which to learn, and the community will see a restored beauty to the courtyards.

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