PRPA Partners with School District 52 to Build New Outdoor Classroom

PRPA Partners with School District 52 to Build New Outdoor Classroom

November 30, 2022

A new outdoor classroom is opening a world of new learning opportunities for Lax Kxeen Elementary School students and the surrounding community. The covered structure was built through a partnership between the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s (PRPA) Community Investment Fund and School District 52 (SD52). The sheltered space encourages students and educators to take their lessons outside, where they can experience their surroundings in a unique, safe, and accessible environment, and provides a new place for local daycares and other community groups to meet for outdoor activities, rain or shine.

The outdoor classroom is directly beside the school’s accessible playground, which was built in partnership with PRPA through a previous Community Investment Fund project with the Lax Kxeen Elementary School Parent Advisory Committee. Nestled near the school’s gymnasium entrance, this location provides additional protection from the elements and direct exterior access to washroom facilities, which community groups can also gain permission to use. Built by local contractors, the 20’x20’ steel structure features a skylight, allowing natural light to illuminate the space. The soft rubber flooring is extended from the playground into the classroom area, making it accessible for people with varying degrees of mobility.

“Taking students outside is good for their mental health and wellbeing, and it adds a different perspective to the classroom experience by expanding their learning environment and allowing them to engage all of their senses,” said Susan Kobza, former Lax Kxeen Elementary School Principal and project proponent. “Using the outdoor classroom as a starting point, classes can then carry on exploring the nearby creek and greenspaces that surround us, learning hands-on about our natural environment.”

“The outdoor classroom project is a testament to the immense creativity and passion of the educators and staff at Lax Kxeen Elementary School who helped develop and champion this concept, to further expand the opportunities available to their students,” said Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. “We look forward to seeing the many ways in which it is put to use for learning and play.”

“Through partnership anything is possible and working together with the Community Investment Fund for the benefit of our students, families, and the neighbourhood at large, we have created a space that truly serves the needs of our community,” said Kate Toye, School District 52 School Board Chair.

“This addition enriches the outdoor space well beyond school hours and deepens our connections by bringing our community to our school, all the time, which is something we strive for,” said Andrew Samoil, School District 52 Superintendent.

The total cost for the Outdoor Classroom Project was $81,820, with the Community Investment Fund contributing $40,320. PRPA, SD52 and multiple Parent Advisory Committees have worked together several times in the past to develop new assets in the community; these projects include

  • 2022 Roosevelt Park Elementary School Accessible Playground $220,000
  • 2020 Lax Kxeen Accessible Playground $70,000
  • 2018 Conrad Elementary School Accessible Park Project $116,225
  • 2017 Pineridge Accessible Playground Project $37,500
  • 2014 Roosevelt Community Playground Project $35,344
  • 2013 Charles Hays Secondary School Turf Replacement Project $100,000
  • 2013 Trades Training Project $100,000

Check out photos from the official opening of the outdoor classroom on Halloween during the students’ costume parade:

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