Pilot Butte council updated on school landscaping plans

The plans for a landscaping project at the Pilot Butte School were shared by the organizers with the city council on February 8th.

The $ 1.2 million project, led by area-based Twyla Armstrong and headmistress Tammy Sillers, includes moving a ball diamond and creating space for a CFL-flagged soccer field and running track. A new play structure is also to be added in another part of the green area.

Closing cisterns around the school will allow more parking to be added, Armstrong said.

Space is also being left for modular classrooms, and more greenery is also planned. In a junior section of the green space, the current play structure will be replaced with an accessible one, framed by a sidewalk, and the existing sand will be replaced with pea gravel. A mini artificial turf soccer area is also added, and a little more green needs to be planted.

Armstrong said fundraising has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, but support from sponsors and the local school board has still allowed some work to be done. The trail was built. Bike racks, buddy benches and picnic tables have also been installed.

“The reason for (the buddy bench) is that if there is a child who has difficulty adjusting or is not involved in the game, that child can sit on that bench and the other children know that the child is looking for someone to play with with, ”said Armstrong. “It’s just a way for children who are a little less sure of finding their way around.”

There are plans to build a long jump pit and plant more green around the trail this year, Armstrong said. Extensive work is also planned in the junior play area.

“All of this costs about $ 100,000. With sponsorships, fundraisers, and some grants, I think we can do that,” said Armstrong of this year’s work. “Then we’d look at sprinklers and grass next spring.”

One of the ongoing challenges will be finding a source of water for the new grass, shrubs and trees to survive. According to Armstrong, the committee seeks to make responsible choices, select drought tolerant plant species, and plant greenery where it can best be watered, taking water conservation into account.

“The reason for these challenges is that the wells on our property are inoperable,” said Armstrong, noting that one well has been closed and another has been classified as a safety hazard.

Armstrong turned to the council because the committee would like to get involved in the city’s water system rather than relying on wells.

Coun. Scott Einarson asked if the old line was part of the project, but was advised that it was town owned. He also asked if the Prairie Valley School Division would contribute to the playgrounds. Sillers noted that there wasn’t a lot of money available for the external features of a school playground.

The council made no decisions on funding options, although Mayor Peggy Chorney said there would be discussions at future meetings to further examine how the city could help with the project.

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