Local builders provide outdoor learning spaces for children in School District 27

Joe Klepacz (from left), Shawn Oviatt, Aidan Herrling and Peter Arnold complete an outdoor classroom at Mountview Elementary School recently. The structure is one of 20 similar projects in School District 27 aimed to create outdoor learning spaces for children. (Theresa Herrling photo)Joe Klepacz (from left), Shawn Oviatt, Aidan Herrling and Peter Arnold complete an outdoor classroom at Mountview Elementary School recently. The structure is one of 20 similar projects in School District 27 aimed to create outdoor learning spaces for children. (Theresa Herrling photo)
An outdoor learning space structure build by Peter Arnold Log Homes Ltd. features a fire-scarred log from the 2017 wildfires. (Photo submitted)An outdoor learning space structure build by Peter Arnold Log Homes Ltd. features a fire-scarred log from the 2017 wildfires. (Photo submitted)
The OT Timber Frames Ltd. crew of Wacey MacDonald (from left), Sean Empey, Josh Douglas, Kurt Leuenberger, Ruedi Baumann, Simon Gansner, Annie Murray (in front) and Josie the dog stand in front of a newly constructed timber frame outdoor classroom for the 150 Mile House Elementary School. (Photo submitted)The OT Timber Frames Ltd. crew of Wacey MacDonald (from left), Sean Empey, Josh Douglas, Kurt Leuenberger, Ruedi Baumann, Simon Gansner, Annie Murray (in front) and Josie the dog stand in front of a newly constructed timber frame outdoor classroom for the 150 Mile House Elementary School. (Photo submitted)

Work is underway to provide inviting, outdoor learning spaces for students throughout School District 27.

All told, 20 schools will receive, or have already received, new log or timber structures at the direction of the school board.

Alex Telford of SD27 said four local contractors won the bids, and each are showcasing the companies’ own unique styles.

“We gave them artistic license and a basic square footage,” said Telford. “They are looking wonderful.”

Peter Arnold Log Homes Ltd. is providing eight, 700-square foot-log structures to schools at Nemaiah, Alexis Creek, Tatla Lake and Anahim Lake as well as in Williams Lake at Chilcotin Road, Mountview Nesika and Marie Sharpe schools.

At last night's Finance & Facilities Committee Meeting, Manager Alex Telford provided an update on capital projects…

Posted by School District No. 27 on Wednesday, March 10, 2021

With the help of Gord Chipman of Cariboo Aboriginal Forest Enterprises and Alkali Resource Management, Arnold selected fir logs burned during the 2017 wildfires within the Chilcotin military training area at Riske Creek to make his structures.

“Every piece of wood tells a story,” Peter Arnold said of the fire-scarred logs, which were selected after being rejected for traditional milling. “In my opinion it couldn’t fit any better.”

Arnold opted for a ‘simple and practical’ design, and added log benches for the students and a stump for the teacher to sit on.

He noted one principal was thrilled with the fire-scarred logs, noting she would be able to use the outdoor space to teach the students about the historic 2017 fires as well as the pandemic, which was the catalyst for the project.

“It’s nice to see the folks at the schools really appreciate it, and they really do.”

Other companies working on outdoor spaces include Zirnhelt Timber Frames who are building structures for Big Lake, Horsefly and Cataline as well as Lake City Secondary’s Columneetza and Williams Lake campuses.

OT Timber Frames designed and set up a 24-foot hexagon structure at 150 Mile House last week.

Sitka Log Homes is providing outdoor spaces for Lac la Hache, Forest Grove, Peter Skene Ogden and Horse Lake.

Instead of received a structure at 108 Mile, the school there has opted to refurbish a field hut for its outdoor rink.

Read More: New structure supports outdoor learning at 150 Mile House Elementary School


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School District No 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin)

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