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Elmwood teachers, staff build outdoor classroom

Teacher Mike Birtzer clearing out branches in the school forest. 1 / 5
Elmwood staff taking a break the morning of Aug. 29 from outdoor work to pose for a group picture (Herald photo by Jason Schulte). 2 / 5
Teachers Kelsey Hannack and Kristel Flesberg laying the bricks down for the classroom. 3 / 5
Teachers Becky Baier and Bev Glaus out in the forest. 4 / 5
Superintendent Paul Blanford even got in the fun, operating the skid steer. Lending a watchful eye is Dick Jones (Submitted photos). 5 / 5

ELMWOOD -- Elmwood School Superintendent Paul Blanford admitted uncertainty when he presented the staff and teachers with the chance to work outside in constructing an outdoor classroom during their in-service period before school started.

“I didn’t know how it would be received,” he said. “But the reaction has been positive. Some people went to work on cleaning the trails, some working on food. It has been a great team building project.”

Blanford said the district was the recipient of a grant from Fairmount Minerals with the condition the money had to be used for outdoor projects. It was decided an outdoor classroom along with improving the trails would meet those standards.

So, on the morning of Aug. 29, staff members were either clearing out trails or laying the pavement for the 40’-by-40’ classroom.

While the classroom wasn’t done by the time school started on Sept. 3, Blanford said, when it is done, it will be for everyone (high school students will complete the rest of the needed work).

“4K through 12 will use this,” he said. “We are going to encourage it any way we can. It will even be open to the community.”

Blanford commended, among others, Tractor Central in Menomonie for donating the equipment, including a skid steer and auger, and John Crownhart for his excavation work.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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