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Salem parent's efforts lead to grant for outdoor classroom

SALEM — A grant from the company of a parent volunteer will help pay for a new outdoor classroom at the Soule Elementary School.

Kevin Giles, the parent of twin second-graders at the school, donated more than 40 hours of volunteer time to the school over the past year.

As a result of those volunteer efforts, his company, IBM, donated a $1,000 grant to the school to help build the outdoor classroom.

The school will also be able to use some of the resources from its current renovation to make the outdoor classroom a reality, according to principal Anna Parrill.

“We are always looking for ways to enhance and enrich our students’ school experience,” said Parrill. She added that teachers are also looking for ways to take their students outside and gain inspiration from the elements.

“One way to combine both of these ideas is through the construction of an outdoor classroom,” Parrill said. “We are not talking about bricks and mortar, but something that is more about natural elements, like large rocks and stones.”

With the ongoing renovations at the school, Parrill said the timing of the project is perfect.

The project’s construction manager owes the school some site work and has agreed to prepare and level off the site for the classroom.

“It will be next to the beautiful apple tree outside the fifth grade classroom wing,” said Parrill.

The $1,000 donation will likely pay for the granite slabs for benches for the classroom, which will also include a podium and Pea Stone for seating.

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