Class in Session (Outdoors)

For most of us, the concept of  having a class outdoors was, well, just that – a concept. Until now. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. DeMiceli, Mr. Mein, and Mr. Schuenzel, two outdoor classrooms for Morris Hills are under construction.

The idea originated from Mr. Mein and Mr. Schuenzel, and Mr. DeMiceli turned it into his Architecture students’ final project. The students were given an assignment to design the classrooms, create 2D and 3D drawings/posters, make a walk-through animation, and give a class presentation. The top 3 students were chosen to present their designs to a panel of administrators and teachers and compete for a “contract.” 2 locations were set aside for the students to use for the designs.

The Administrators liked the designs so much that they decided to get the Home and School Association involved and actually construct the classrooms. The final project had become something much bigger.

A committee of teachers and administrators decided upon a design for each location. Mr. DeMiceli created the plans and presentation, and Mr. Schuenzel gave the presentation to the Board of Education. The Board approved the idea, and the HSA agreed to fund the construction of both classrooms. The project was underway.

Student and teacher volunteers are currently helping to construct the classrooms. The first, located outside the science wing, is a pergola design and should be finished before Thanksgiving. The second, a stone structure located across the street from the science wing, will be constructed in the Spring. The HOPE club will be helping out as well by planting vines and other plants in the area surrounding the first classroom.

By Spring of next year, the first classroom will be available for use, and by Fall next year, the second will be available.

The outdoor classrooms certainly represent a refreshing change for the students and teachers. Hopefully, they will make classes more interesting and give the students a chance to catch a breath of fresh air.

Maybe, when I return to Morris Hills for our 20-year high school reunions, outdoor classrooms will dot the campus and “indoor classrooms” will be a thing of the past.