Thursday, February 26, 2009

Red Letter Day/Night in The Panther Patch!

Today was a red letter day in The Panther Patch! Three HUGE projects were completed.

First Thomas Yourman finished the Butterfly bed for us! It looks GREAT and we know the butterfly population of Hewitt will soon join us in thanking Thomas and Corey Crager for all their incredible help and support! We can't wait to get this bed filled and planted.
There are so many fun things we have planned for this area.

Also today our grade level planting beds were built. ALL TEN OF THEM. Yes! In just one day by two incredible guys, Randy Smith and our very own Jonathan Christian!
Not only did they build the boxes today, they dealt with a setback that would have caused most to just walk off the job. BUT NOT THESE TWO! Nope. After they finished the first box, the outdoor electricity went caput at Spring Valley. Our great bed builders just loaded up their trailers with lumber and equipment and drove a few miles down the road to unload, set up, and finish. Then they loaded all nine boxes on trailers and brought them back to install them at Spring Valley at 8PM tonight! Talk about dedication! We are so proud of these super sturdy great planting boxes.

Oh and they didn't just build the ten boxes today. No. They also built our trellis screens and planter in the front of the ampi-classroom! INCREDIBLE!!!

So, as of 8:30PM tonight the major construction in The Panther Patch is 95% complete!!!

As far as construction like things go, we still have to get the gate and sign in at the entrance, lay the 2"x 2" block pathway, put the shed together, secure everything to the cement that we can and build some art pieces. BUT the lion share of the building is complete. It won't be long before we can start filling the beds and planting.

The Panther Patch is ahead of schedule and under budget. We could not be more pleased. Stay tuned as there will be big developments every week from here on out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Money Money Money

Even though it may not show outside, we made lots of progress in The Panther Patch this week!

Last Tuesday our full budget was voted on and approved at the PTA General meeting. Since then our committee has ordered many fun (and not so fun) things for our outdoor learning area. See the ever evolving "wish list" to the right for updates on what we have ordered so far. Some of the links are not to the actual item, as some items were found and purchased locally. We also secured a final bid for the awning that will be installed over the 2nd grade hall window.

Be on the lookout for more and more items to be placed in The Panther Patch after the front gate is installed allowing us to better secure things after hours and on weekends.

We have much to accomplish in the coming weeks before Spring Break so check back regularly for updates!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Outdoor Classroom has a name......

A PAWSitive place for outdoor learning!
Our volunteers might be called the Panther Patch PAWSse.
We are so excited about our new name and all the fun things that can be done with it!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Great Week Outdoors!

We had another great week out in the Outdoor Learning Area!

First, MISD's landscaper extraordinaire, Thomas Yourman and crew are doing a fantastic job on the retaining wall. They have done such a great job that we were thrilled when it was approved to extend the wall all the way around the ampi-theater/classroom to the concrete slab. Many thanks to Corry Crager, MISD Director of Maintenance and Mrs. Monroe for their continued support and enthusiasm for this project!

The brick columns were also completed this week. Finding just the right brick to match the existing 23 year old "out of production" brick was not easy. But thanks to Joe Salinas of Salinas Construction and our great SVE color advisory team, we think we found exactly what we were looking for! (click on any of the below pictures to enlarge)

The new brick blends amazingly well with the school's existing brick. We could not be happier with how these columns turned out and are very excited to have this crucial step in construction completed!

Next the committee (and little friends) worked Friday to level out more of the gravel in preparation for the delivery of the quarry block benches in our ampi-classroom. This made for a long, hard work day. We are very pleased with the end result!

After a long morning, the gravel was level, the markings for the ampi-classroom were laid out and we were ready for delivery!


Moving 900 pound blocks of limestone around requires lots of skill and a big machine!

We quickly learned that these blocks/benches can not be easily moved.
That did not stop us from trying!
Tired PTA Moms and "future Panthers" taking a break and trying out the new benches.
It's beginning to look like an outdoor ampi-classroom!

A teacher bench that can convert into a lab table will be placed at the front and center of this area. The bench can be moved for dramas or other class presentations. Mrs. Hair thinks this is going to be a great reading theater as well.

We are all very excited to see our outdoor learning area steadily continue to take shape! Please contact the Outdoor Classroom Committee or any of the PTA officers if you have any questions about this area or feel free to leave comments below.

The Outdoor Classroom Committee

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Last Day to Suggest a Name!

Spring Valley needs a fun creative name for our new outdoor space!
Woodway calls theirs the PAW (Pathways Across Woodway). South Bosque has Mr. B's Living Room.

Suggestions were taken in the comments of this post through February 5th.

We will announce the outdoor classroom's new name at the February 10th PTA general meeting!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Construction Pictures

Here are some recent pictures of construction progress. (Click to enlarge.)

Monday Thomas started the retaining wall and drain.
The Quarry Stone benches are in and ready for delivery.

Monday we finalized the brick. Tuesday the columns started going up!

Both fences were put up on Monday.

Here is a slide show of Construction so far!