MEREDITH — The Inter-Lakes School Board has given its blessing to efforts to solicit community support for two initiatives involving school facilities. One calls for building an instructional greenhouse at Inter-Lakes Elementary School. The second calls for installing lights and making other improvements at the Inter-Lakes High School athletic field.
The board gave the nod to both endeavors at its meeting Monday evening.
Dr. Steve Kelley, principal of the school's lower grades, said he wants to build a greenhouse to be a "living classroom" where children would receive basic education through hands-on learning.
"There's too much talk about, and not enough immersion in," Kelley told the board explaining why he thinks the greenhouse is a good way to stimulate the interest of youngsters who do not respond as readily to more-traditional forms of classroom instruction.
He said he decided to put forth the greenhouse idea after watching a poor student become a motivated learner after several weeks of taking care of the principal's pet hermit crab.
Kelley estimated the cost to build and equip the greenhouse would be about $65,000. He said that he wants to be able to approach groups and individuals in the community to defray the cost of the project.
"Digging in the dirt will get the kids turned on to learning," Kelley said. He also believed the greenhouse would be an opportunity to get parents and families more involved in the school.
Kelley said the financial impact of the greenhouse program would be minimal and would not require the hiring of additional staff.
The plan to make improvements to the artificial turf athletic field was made by resident Chris Kelly, who said he wanted to organize a committee to push the project and build community support.
The main element of the improvements would be the installation of lights at the artificial-turf playing field, which would allow for night games. Other improvements would be construction of concession and rest room facilities and the installation of drainage.
Kelly said he envisioned that funding support would come not only from Inter-Lakes communities, but from outside the local area, too. He said he planned to meet with Meredith town officials to present the idea to them. School Board member Howard Cunningham urged Kelly to also approach officials in Center Harbor and Sandwich, since those communities are part of the Inter-Lakes District.
Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond said there was the potential of the district getting additional revenue for the use of its athletic field if it could be used for night games or other events.