Renovated courtyard awaits Kate Andrews students
COALDALE – The transformation of the Kate Andrews High School courtyard could be described as: a leadership project; a hands-on, practical learning experience; and an opportunity for staff to roll up their sleeves and pitch in.
When students return to school next fall, it’s hoped their reviews of the project might include words like ‘inviting’ and ‘amazing.’
“I think the kids are going to be blown away,” says one of the KAHS staff members who spearheaded the final push to finish the renovated space.
As staff gathered for a group photo in the courtyard and checked out the gleaming gas barbecue the school purchased to top off the project, staff members Daniel Griffith, Teresa Neufeld and Tanya Wurzer recalled its origins.
A revamped courtyard began as a leadership class venture to revitalize an underutilized portion of the Coaldale high school. Students wrote letters seeking funding and in the end, about $1,500 was raised as well as donated items like landscaping rock. Palliser’s contribution included tree removal and concrete pads for picnic tables.
Unfortunately, the spring of 2019 was a soggy one and the project floundered in the mud. In the fall, Griffith’s Grade 9 fabrication class was tagged to build lattice and other work to provide them with hands-on learning experience while increasing student buy-in for the renovations and pride in the school.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and students were no longer in the classroom, KAHS staff picked up the slack and finished the courtyard improvements off. Providing assistance were a handful of student-volunteers, including Tanya’s daughter, Payton, and others from R.I. Baker Middle School.
The revamped space now features a new seating area with areas to grow herbs and produce that can be used in foods class, as well as apple trees and grapevines. Further landscaping was done and the built-in brick barbecue, which had seen better days, was removed.
Plans are in the works to incorporate the revitalized space into welcome back festivities in the fall. In addition to providing somewhere for students to enjoy some fresh air during lunch and breaks, staff say it could also be used as additional classroom space on occasion.