"We will work to incorporate student input into every phase of the master plan," says parent Laura Joyce, chairwoman of the committee overseing the improvements.
"This will slow the process, but our students will gain skills and take pride in seeing their own visions and voices made visible."
The project got its start when students wrote letters advocating the athletic court, helping it to attract $20,000 in support from the Nike Employee Grant Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation. The court will be installed this summer, with other improvements to follow as funding becomes available.
The project, which parents and community members call the Healthy Schoolyard Revolution, includes an outdoor classroom. Vernon's 36 sixth-graders each designed a classroom and voted on the five best; the winners presented their designs to about 50 parents and community members at an event June 6.
At the event, Vernon parent and Greenworks designer David Elkin provided a walking tour of the entire master plan, which includes "biophilic design features" to bring students in touch with nature. Other high-priority projects include a covered play area, improved stormwater management and additional trees.
Says Joyce: "It is a rare opportunity to be part of a project with such a rich mission, and that hits home in a very personal way."
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