Students at Franklin Elementary School will be able to enjoy their reading books outside during nice weather, thanks to a new outdoor reading area being built at their school.
The new reading area will be just outside the school’s main entrance and will feature plants, benches, shrubbery, and red and gray brick flooring. The 30 foot by 75 foot space will be fenced in and will make use of existing shade in the area.
The Board of Education approved the construction of the Franklin School Reading Area on Tuesday. The $30,000 construction cost was funded by donations and the project was led by Councilman Elias Chalet. Construction is scheduled to begin Sept. 7 and is expected to take one week to complete.
However, school board members at first reacted with disapproval because they said proper protocol was not followed. “Anyone who wants to create a project must come to the board with a written proposal,” said Board President Mary Shaughnessy, “But I think the parents, students and the teachers of Franklin School would be very disappointed if we did end it at this point because protocol wasn’t followed.”
The idea was proposed 1 ½ years ago by Principal Marianne Abbasso and she approached Councilman Chalet and asked him to help get the project started. “I told her that if I could come up with the funds, I would be very happy to,” he said.
According to Chalet, before the end of the year he met with individuals, firms, doctors, and friends to raise support for the reading space. Overall, Chalet raised $25,000 in donations. “It’s definitely going to help the kids and it’s good for the school and for the community,” he said.
Councilman Chalet said he believes the construction of the new reading area, would be a good opportunity to enhance Franklin School as well as the neighborhood.
“We’ve basically been trying for nine years to do something with that area to make it nicer,” said Board Member Catzel Bumpus.
The board members decided to take a vote on the matter and the construction of the project was unanimously supported.
The school community will hold an opening ceremony to acknowledge and thank those who supported the project.
“I live in the neighborhood,” said Chalet, “I think it’s going to be good for students to go out there to sit and read and enjoy the project which I think is going to be really nice.”
To view the video of the Board of Education meeting click here.