Inter-Lakes School Board puts greenhouse project over top with $20k donation

MEREDITH — The Inter-Lakes Elementary School's "Living Classroom" greenhouse project went over the top in its fundraising goal when the Inter-Lakes School Board agreed last night to donate $20,000 for the project.
The fund drive for the project, which got underway last September, had a goal of $65,000 according to Dr. Steve Kelley, principal of the Inter-Lakes Elementary School, who says that groundbreaking for construction of the 24 foot by 48 foot greenhouse will be held in the fall, after students return from their summer vacation.
In a letter to Superintendent Mary Ellen Ormond, written last week, Kelley said that the project has received nearly $30,000 in donations since last September and that the recent donation of $10,000 by the Meredith Rotary Club, which will be matched by another donor, has put the total raised so far to just around $50,000.
He requested that the district consider a $20,000 donation, a request that the board granted last night.
Supt. Ormond said that the Inns at Mills Falls company agreed to match the $10,000 Rotary Club donation.
The Living Classroom initiative is focused on constructing and supporting a state of the art greenhouse/outdoor classroom which will provide a a unique educational center promoting active learning for students in a "hands-on", experiential learning venue. The vision for the greenhouse includes creatively designed outdoor garden beds, a year-round solar greenhouse that utilizes a solar subterranean heating design, and a composting center.
The board earlier in last night's meeting voted to accept a donation of $26,715.45 from fundraising efforts and contributions to the living greenhouse project.
''This project is an exciting thing. Groundbreaking will take place while the children are here. From start to finish we want small hands involved,'' said Ormond.
That donation was one of five accepted by the board last night which included $800 from the Inter-Lakes PTO for bus transportation for elementary school students to the Children's Museum of Portsmouth; $550 from Lamprey and Lamprey to the support the Inter-Lakes High School After Prom event, $700 from the Inter-Lakes PTO for support of the ILHS Destination Imagination Team and $1,000 from the Hannaford Help Schools Fund to support the Family in Need Fund.
Those donations prompted School Board member Howard Cunningham of Sandwich to say ''I am almost overwhelmed by the frequency with which we get these donations. We must be doing something right.''
Supt. Ormond supported that sentiment saying ''I have never in my 33 years worked in a community as generous''

NOTES: Supt. Ormond said ''the high school did a little dance'' last week when it received its report from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges' Committee on Public Secondary Schools which reviewed the two-year progress report for Inter-Lakes High School. The report praised the progress made by the school district in a number of areas, including strategic planning and development of a seven-year curriculum cycle. ''It's not typically what you see in these reports. It's usually a list of things you need to do,'' said Ormond, who praised ILHS Principal Patricia Kennelly and the high school staff for the progress made at the school. . . . . . The board approved a tuition waiver for a foreign exchange student from Denmark for the 2014-15 school year and it was reported that a student from Inter-Lakes High School will be a foreign exchange student in Denmark next year.