PORTLAND — Thanks to community support, students at Presumpscot Elementary School now have access to the city’s largest outdoor classroom.

Planning for the outdoor learning space at the Presumpscot Street school began three years ago, when students in Brandi Surace’s third-grade class said they wanted an area outside of the classroom to think, observe and learn.

The students created several designs for the unconventional classroom and sought funding for their project. Their families rallied around their project, raising funds and asking for material donations.

Lowe’s donated most of the building materials and Maintenance Technology donated $500 to match money raised by families and students.

The project hit a snag over the summer, when looking for a contractor to build the outdoor learning deck and ramps. Custodian Larry Goodson stepped in and volunteered his time to upgrade the student’s designs and build the deck.

Final touches were added to the project in October, when Harvard Pilgram, City Year and the Maine Red Claws built three picnic tables and a chalkboard.

The space officially opened for learning at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 16 when Annie Martin, a sixth-grade student who was in Surace’s class when the project began, cut the ribbon.

Amber Cronin can be reached at [email protected] or 781-3661 ext. 125. Follow her on Twitter @croninamber.

Sidebar Elements

Sixth-grader Annie Martin officially opened the outdoor learning classroom at Presumpscot Elementary School in Portland on Friday. Martin was a member of Brandi Surace’s third-grade class, which envisioned the space three years ago.

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