Salisbury Academy breaks ground on outdoor learning space

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 1, 2017

By Lizzy Roy

SALISBURY — Shovels went in the ground with a cheer from students, faculty, staff and community supporters in a groundbreaking Tuesday for construction of Salisbury Academy’s Outdoor Learning Space.

The groundbreaking paid tribute to donors, volunteers and visionaries who have worked to bring the project to reality.

“This future space will be one of smiles, laughs, learning and memories, a space that provides the benefits of nature, play, health and wellness,” said Head of School Beverly Fowler, standing on the playground and the site of the new interactive outdoor area.

Fowler, Mayor Karen Alexander, board of trustees Chairman Paul Bardinas and development Chairwoman Traci Williams lifted the first symbolic shovels of soil where the outdoor space will be created.

“Developing the Outdoor Learning Space has been a two-year process with a lot of behind-the-scenes work, and we are finally at the momentous stage of beginning construction,” said Bardinas. “A very big thank you to our fundraisers, development committee, community panel and to our head of school for making this dream a reality.”

The outdoor space will foster free play while offering student engagement with the natural world through gardens, outdoor classrooms, natural areas, and a wealth of opportunity for exercise and exploration. Phase 1 construction will include trails, music and butterfly gardens, birdwatching areas, play areas, and a dry creek and bridge, among other features.

The Outdoor Learning Space is a key component of the school’s Project Green Space, a movement for sustainability and conservation. Other aspects of Project Green Space include expansion of the environmental curriculum, a major LED lighting upgrade, recycling programs and a school garden.

In her closing comments at Tuesday’s groundbreaking, Fowler thanked the founders of Salisbury Academy who she said had the vision for a school where students could learn through experience and are active and engaged with the world around them.

“What an honor it is to build upon that legacy with this exciting new outdoor space,” said Fowler. “We are thrilled to offer our students and community new avenues for making those critical outdoor connections.”