Hall Fletcher is the academic home of Asheville’s largest elementary school population of minority children and children living in poverty. 80% of students are eligible for free or reduced cost lunches—the highest percentage in the city. In addition, 19% of the total student population is in the Program for Exceptional Children (serving children with identified disabilities)—again, the largest percentage in the city.
Established as the Math, Science and Technologies magnet elementary school in 1992, Hall Fletcher’s dreary campus and weathered façade convey little of the vitality found within. Dr. Gordon Grant, Principal, is committed to converting the dilapidated, unsafe and inaccessible campus into an asset for both the school and neighboring community. Dr. Grant has enlisted ADC to develop an outdoor learning environment that reflects the school’s theme while affording access to all of Hall Fletcher’s students. ADC is now partnering with Asheville City Schools, Equinox Environmental, Jade Mountain Builders, and the Yale Club of WNC to initiate this project.
Following workshops with school children, parents, staff and surrounding neighbors, ADC’s volunteers have developed designs for a half-acre outdoor learning environment that will translate classroom curriculum into outdoor educational experiences, encouraging enthusiasm through creative learning. Designs include a kinetic merry-go-round that acts as an artesian well, a Renaissance-styled vaulted tile dome (which will serve as an outdoor classroom), and a weather station that will be installed with the help of scientists from Asheville’s NOAA National Climatic Data Center. Students will be involved in the creation of each element, applying their math, science and technology lessons in a tangible way, instilling a deeper appreciation for their school’s campus.