Christmas came early for Stettler Middle School in the form of a grant for its sprawling green project.
With plans to enhance the school grounds with landscaping and social space, the middle school last Friday received a $3,429.20 cheque from Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds national program. The school plans to use the money to beautify its surroundings with trees, shrubs, benches and picnic tables and a classroom/amphitheatre.
“We can now go ahead and do the work on the school grounds,” said teacher Bob Poapst, who’s co-ordinating the project with Sandy Foster.
“Right now, it’s pretty barren wasteland, it’s so bleak,” Foster said.
Over the next two years, the school plans to create the area west of the building as an inviting and healthy setting.
For the first phase, the school intends to create a social gathering area, with elements of active living.
“It is the goal of our committee to reclaim this space and transform it into a more natural area — a multi-purpose space in which students, staff and community members can socialize, play, relax and learn,” Poapst said.
Students have strongly supported the project since it was initiated last year, and they’re already active in constructing some of the components.
A survey determined that students want “welcoming and relaxing space” to better enjoy their lunch and learning times, and to inspire a healthier environment, Poapst said.
“Sometimes you have more discipline problems when students have nothing to do,” Foster said.
“We recognize that students at this age want to socialize and be outside and do it in an atmosphere that’s pleasant.”
Poapst and Foster said they appreciate the partners in the parent council, the Clearview School Division, the Town of Stettler, Heartland Beautification Committee, Stettler Communities in Bloom, community volunteers, and the Olds College landscape design students.
Also serving on the committee are principal Sharon Fischer, Liezel Vogel and Kim Smyth of the parent council, school trustee Patty Dittrick and members of the middle school students’ union.