Kilgore ISD has wrapped up the majority of work on a new Outdoor Learning Area at Chandler Elementary in time for the new school year to begin.

“The idea for the Chandler Elementary Outdoor Learning Area began during the 2016-17 school year. Campus and district administrators began talking about how we might create an outdoor learning area at Chandler Elementary to aid students’ “hands on” experiences and that might also increase opportunities for our community to be actively involved in this campus,” said KISD Superintendent Dr. Andy Baker in an email.

Baker said KISD received three “very generous” grants used to fund the construction of the learning area. Lowe’s Home Improvement gave $39,250, Whole Kids Foundation gave $2,000 and East Texas Lumber provided $796.64.

“The grants were used by the district to purchase the supplies and materials needed to complete this project,” Baker said.

Work commenced on the area last year and continued through this summer. Volunteers contributed much of the hours needed to construct the area, which included dirt work and installation of drainage, as well as the construction of six raised cedar gardening beds.

Volunteers also laid over 2,300 feet of edging, 1,600 feet of mulch, spread 75 tons of crushed concrete, 75 tons of decomposed granite and 50 yards of topsoil.

“We have had a wonderful turnout for volunteers to help make this project work!  Thank you KISD community members and employees who volunteered their time to make this happen!” Baker said.

He added the majority of the project has been completed but there are still a few remaining things staff and volunteers aim to complete during the school year. This includes the addition of garden pergolas, pathway benches and possibly a fence to surround the learning area.  

A post on Chandler Elementary’s website said volunteers included Dana Sneed, Hannah Beets, Christy Cavel, Grayson Cavel, Hudson Cavel, Steven Collins, Lisa Haley, Kelsey Williams, Dana Presley, Tracy Collins, Carolyn Franks, Victor Noriega, Susan Dent, Jerry Stuart, Reggie Henson, Tracie Mobbs, Cassie McClurg, Curt Collins, Tina Reyes, Shelby Stokes, Kendall Collins, Beverly Borders, Misty Garvin, Meagan Chitwood, Ann Taylor, Alan Clark, Olivia Norris, Elliott Norris, Angelica Brandt, Richard Nash, Bob Lindley, Tammie Hughes and Deacon Nash. 

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