ROY -- Students at the Municipal Elementary now have a place to go for a little peace and quiet if they choose.
The school now has a covered bench area in a garden spot to call home during recess or even during the day thanks to a $4,000 grant from Lowe's Home Improvement Stores.
School counselor Shelley Sheldon heard from another counselor in Montana about the grant, which is usually awarded to middle- to low-income schools. She jumped at it because space is limited in the school's library for reading and quiet time.
"There are just not really a lot of multi-use rooms," Sheldon said. She has always thought the middle outside area of the school could be used in some way and she thought Lowe's would agree.
She approached the school's PTA to see if she could get a little help with the grant and they jumped right on board. Some volunteers helped design the space that was needed for the grant. The grant rules required a partial match, so Sheldon thought the in-kind donations of the drawings as well as the labor to put everything together would be sufficient.
Lowe's agreed to that as well. The maximum amount for the grant was $5,000, so Sheldon was thrilled when Municipal received $4,000.
"We are the only school in Utah to receive the money," she said.
Principal Joel Frederiksen is happy to have the new space. Students aren't always interested in playing ball or running around and he likes that it fills a need for students who might just need a quiet break during the day. He has noticed several students using the area since it was installed Oct. 8 by parents and Lowe's employees.
Frederiksen was impressed that parents and community volunteers came to help put everything together on a non-school day. He and other staff have slowly been adding a bit more to the space every day to make it complete.
Sheldon plans to plant a Zen garden area this spring with the idea of low maintenance.
"So many schools put in a big garden and then enthusiasm goes away. I want this to be something we can always maintain," she said.
Students have four nice benches and two pergolas set up so they can be shielded from sun and bad weather conditions, but still enjoy the area.
Sheldon already has used the area for classes and loves spending the time outside. The students have enjoyed spending nice fall days learning and talking peacefully outside, she said. The school also is coming up with some other ideas of how to add to the area -- maybe even by adding some doors from the school that lead directly into the garden area.
"It's not a roughhouse place. It's a quiet place," she said. She noted that some students definitely need a safe, quiet place during the day and is thrilled to be able to meet those needs for those students.