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Opening Celebration: Outdoor Classroom at École St. Norbert Immersion School
June 19, 2017 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
I am delighted to announce the official opening of the outdoor classroom at École St. Norbert Immersion School (ESNI) on Monday, June 19! Please join me to celebrate this incredible community achievement!
As Councillor for the South Winnipeg-St. Norbert Ward, I am very pleased to have worked with ESNI and community residents in the upgrading of this key recreational and play area. Besides enhancing the habitat along the La Salle River, this beautiful location serves as a unique spot for residents of the community to get together.
The project began when standing water and pea gravel in the schoolyard was identified as a hazard to children using the space. Over the next 6 years, landscape ecologist Sam Braun (Ecotones), the council, volunteers and students worked on creating a new outdoor classroom. This enhancement initiative was carried out over several phases:
Phase I – Correcting the Drainage Problems
A rain garden was dug from the school to the adjoining ditch leading to the LaSalle River. The dirt was re-used to create berms throughout the yard. The new berms were seeded before the first snowfall in Fall 2014.
Volunteers removed the pea stone gravel from the play structure area because it was causing a slip-and-fall hazard with the perimeter sidewalk. The gravel in the swings area was also relocated after the beams bordering the area were removed. The pea stone gravel was relocated to create a base in the new swale and the wooden beams were saved for Phase II.
The play structure area was then filled with 140 yards of certified CSA mulch. Trees were planted and caged to protect them from curious wildlife.
Phase II – Environmental “Tender Loving Care”
Parent donations from the Glenlea Greenhouse fundraiser and student volunteers created our very own butterfly garden located at the front of our play structure area.
Volunteers built a boardwalk crossing the new raingarden. The wooden beams from the swings area were used to frame the structure.
Rocks and boulders were added as features and to create a new border, and mulch was added to various beds. Numerous volunteers gathered in October 2015 to plant trees, shrubs, native plants, and flowers. New soil and mulch was spread to complete Phase II.
Phase III – New Play Structures & Equipment
Outdoor musical instruments and a variety of accessible playground structures were purchased and installed, along with benches.
CONGRATULATIONS on a job well done!