Irving plans outdoor classroom

Courtesy photo

Irving Principal Jeff Everett with kids in Mrs. Abernathy’s fifth-grade class look at the outdoor classroom blueprints. From left are, Everett, Aubry Coon, Madalyn Douglas, Justice Jennings, Corbin McCammon, Jona Sillo, Kendall Cook, Olyviah Sturthers-McGlory, Lucy Ray, Nevaeh Kilmer, Sophia Schwerdtfager and Katie Gordon.

The Irving Elementary Community Partnerships Team is excited to share their plans to build an outdoor classroom at Irving Elementary. 

The outdoor classroom is a part of Irving’s Kansas Can School Redesign process and is the inspiration of Irving students and staff.

After surveying students and staff last year during the Gemini I Redesign planning process, ideas were shared with Cheri Hulse of Agora Architecture to guide her in the creation of blueprints for the project.  

Irving received a $5,000 grant from the Legacy Foundation to fund the blueprints. 

Ideas consisted of a gazebo for a shaded learning area, a stage with a whiteboard for learning and presentations, raised flower beds for students to witness the life cycle of plants, a sensory area, concrete tables for projects, a greenhouse, hammocks, and a sink area.  

The project merges all four principles of the redesign process: Community Partnerships, Real-World Applications, Personalized Learning and Student Success Skills. The outdoor classroom will give Irving students a place for hands-on experiences, science and nature exploration, community partnerships and much more.



The total amount for the outdoor classroom project is estimated to be $130,000 including materials and labor. At this time, the Irving Community Partnership Team is holding a brick and paver engraving fundraiser. Bricks are $45 and pavers are $200. Both will be placed around structures for walking paths. Approximately $4,400 has been raised from brick and paver sales and donations.  

Irving is currently waiting to find out if they will receive a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield through Rise Cowley. They will be notified in April if they will receive a grant.  

A Chili Fundraiser is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. March 9 at Irving Elementary. Cost is for a bowl of chili, crackers, drink and dessert. The community is invited to attend this event to help support Irving Elementary’s outdoor classroom. 

The Community Partnership Team hopes to have enough funds and volunteers to break ground in the summer of 2020. If anyone would like to donate funds or help with the building of the outdoor classroom project, contact Irving Elementary at (620) 221-5140.

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