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Redland School gets $13,000 for garden


by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Matthew Magana, whose son is in third grade at Redland Elementary, discusses his courtyard design with Principal Cindy Fillis (center) and PTA President Carol Drudis during last week's tour of the site.Redland Elementary School is creating a “living classroom” in its courtyard to bring students a new community garden surrounded by outdoor reading tables and other potential learning sites.

Matthew Magana, whose son is in third grade at Redland, donated his time as a landscape designer. His latest drawings designate 1,517 square feet of currently underutilized sod for gardening in the school’s 7,183-square-foot courtyard.

A 10-foot-diameter circle in the center of the courtyard would be non-permeable, but water could seep in through the rest of the courtyard on pavers over gravel. Compacted gravel, covered with crushed gravel, also would encircle each of the gardening beds.

“Being in the round, the rectangles that come off that circle are like ripples that come off a pebble when you drop it into a pond and it radiates out,” Magana said. “It may sound corny, but it’s a design that’s really inspired by the great experiences that I’ve had from teachers, and I just wanted to build on those memories of how education works.”

At a design presentation last week, Principal Cindy

Fillis and teachers raved about the 18-inch seat wall around the courtyard and along a garden path that could provide impromptu spots for lessons.

“It’s an amazing space, and it offers unlimited potential for our educators,” Fillis said.

Along the edges of the courtyard, there could be spots for compost bins and lock boxes for students’ smaller hand tools. Magana expects that none of the school’s current murals and sculptures would have to be removed, although there are plenty of other walls that could get a facelift.

“It’s a way to connect this school with previous generations by keeping those old murals and adding some new ones,” he said. “You’ll be able to create learning opportunities off of beautifying those ugly walls, so you’ll reclaim that space for educating the kids.”

Magana and Fillis discussed an entry concept last year but couldn’t get buy-in from some parents who viewed it just as a beautification project. Now propelled by last month’s $8,000 grant from Clackamas County Public Health, Fillis hopes that the garden project will be completed in time for her retirement party this spring. Redland’s PTA also contributed $5,000.

Redland School will get a bid from Town and Country in the coming weeks, and is seeking donations to make up the difference for up to a $20,000 total project cost. Project organizers would appreciate donations of labor, equipment, supplies, gardening tools or cash.