Iotla Valley PTO raises funds for outdoor classroom 

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schoolsBrittney Raby – Staff Writer

After raising $6,500 for an outdoor pavilion, the Iotla Valley PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) got the approval of the Macon County Board of Education last week to move forward with the project.

An outdoor pavilion that can be used by classes for lessons outdoors, picnics, and other community uses, is part of a longterm improvement plan to build up the grounds around Iotla Valley Elementary School which was constructed four years ago.

The pavilion will be built once school is out for the summer vacation and will be completed by the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. In addition to the pavilion, Iotla Valley Elementary Principal Michelle Bell said that a second project for the area will include improvements to the playground area such as a second swing set and the building of a walking track. Members of the PTO prioritized the three projects utilizing a survey and voted to make the pavilion the first phase of the outdoor improvements to the school to provide shade in the wide open area around the playground.

Bell spoke to members of the school board about the work that has been completed around Iotla Valley since its completion four years ago, which includes landscaping around the grounds, purchasing playground mulch, and installing a basketball goal for the playground.

The pavilion will be located at the back fence area in the center of the school playground so both playgrounds will benefit from the shelter. The structure will be a 24 x 14 foot stick built pavilion with open end gables and four posts on each side  covered with a tin roof that matches the main school building. The pavilion will have a two foot overhang to keep the area dry in inclement weather.

The PTO raised the $6,500 budgeted to construct the pavilion with all funding for the project generated by the organization’s fundraisers. Bell informed the school board that the labor for the project will be donated by PTO members and their families, and the PTO will cover the cost of the materials including lumber, concrete and tin roofing. The project will be managed by Iotla Valley grandparent and local builder, Lou Guertin; SRO officer and builder Bill Edwards; Joe Allen, parent and owner of Allen Builders and PTO President Kim Dillard. The Lyndon B. Johnson Job Corps will also volunteer their time and talents to the project as students will pour and finish the pavilion’s concrete slab. The Franklin High School drafting class drew the blueprints for the structure.

While the funding for the structure having been secured, the PTO is still looking for community donations for picnic tables and dogwood trees for the school grounds. The PTO will have a plaque made with “In Memory Of,” “In Honor Of” or “In Dedication To” for the donated tables and trees.

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