Unionville HS dedicates new outdoor lounge

School’s PTO, students, alum and district partner to convert courtyard

By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com

Unionville High School celebrated Earth Day Monday by dedicating a new outdoor student lounge near the library. From left, Unionville Parent Teacher Organization representative Linda Fischer, UHS Alum Joshua Cauffman who helped with the furniture and landscaping, UCFSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Sanville, UCFSD Board of Education President Eileen Bushelow.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — With warm weather and sunny skies becoming more common as spring fully takes hold, students at Unionville will have a new outdoor option for getting back to nature, but without leaving the confines of the building.

The recent renovations to the building created an enclosed courtyard across from the library, but it was largely an unusable space. That’s where the UHS Parent Teacher Organization stepped up proposing to create an outdoor lounge area. Working with UHS alum Joshua Cauffman, owner of Green Roots Landscaping, what had been a vision came to reality, Monday.

Tied to Earth Day, members of the school administration, school board, teaching staff, PTO and students came together to formally dedicate the new outdoor lounge.

“It reminds me of a college courtyard,” said Dr. John Sanville, Superintendent of Schools for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. “And really, it is the culmination of a lot of stakeholder groups.”

The grass and concrete area has a pair of sitting areas — one with a bench and a second with Adirondack-style chairs and wooden cubes — which can be used as tables for sitting, as well as a larger picnic-style table. The entire area is enclosed, with classrooms overlooking the area — although it’s completely open to the sky.

The new lounge was the work of many to keep costs down, with the PTO donating the plantings and some of the furniture. PTO Co-President Michelle Montgomery donated wood which Cauffman then used to build additional furniture, while the school district handled creation of the concrete pads and other “hardscaping” for the project. Students volunteers moved piles of mulch and did all of the plantings.

And to be sure, the project went very quickly, going from concept in Nov. 2011 to completion just five months later.

And the reviews — from parents, administrators, staff and students — were unanimous: the new courtyard is a big addition to the school for students.

“Everyday, we’ll be excited,” said student Natalie Ventura, representing the school’s Student Council. “It’s cool we now have somewhere to go.”

Sanville agreed, telling the gathered folks, many of whom made the project happen: “the fruits of your great labor will be enjoyed for many years to come.”

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