The Santa Barbara Unified School District board recently approved the construction of a new outdoor classroom at Harding University Partnership School.
The project transforms a playspace into an outdoor classroom space.
The project will begin within the week before the winter break, and the demolition of the current space will be completed while students are not on campus, according to the district. Construction is expected to take 60 days to complete.
The architects for the project included a Dimensions Educational Research Foundation team who helped create a “Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom Conceptual Plan.”
The project is being funded by a grant awarded to the school district from First 5 of Santa Barbara. This long-term grant is intended to provide 21st-century learning environments at all elementary schools. (Harding School serves grades K-6.)
The grant also includes the development of Science Technology Engineering And Mathematics labs, which will work in concert with the outdoor classrooms.
“We are excited to see this project move forward,” Veronica Binkley, principal of Harding Partnership School, said in a news release. “This project will help us innovate new ways to engage students with the latest methods to teach students science, technology, engineering, art and music in a variety of settings both within the STEAM classroom and in the outdoor classroom.”
The project was approved at the Nov. 15 school board meeting. The vote awarded the $395,346 construction project to Hanly Engineering Corp. The project was paid for by $100,000 from the First 5 Early Learning Plan Grant, $100,000 from a Women’s Fund Grant, $70,000 from the SBUSD California State Preschool Program, $20,000 from the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, $16,000 from HUPS Unrestricted Lottery Account, and $89,346 from Developer Fees (Fund 25).
“We want to thank the amazing Principal Binkley for her vision and relentless support for student learning, along with gratitude for our staff and community partners for making this project possible,” Dr. Hilda Maldonado, the district’s superintendent, said. “We look forward to seeing this outdoor classroom enhance learning at Harding.”