As a building and grounds director for an educational campus in Northeast Ohio, you have quite a bit to worry about.
From interior school building issues to ensuring parents and students can easily and safely navigate your property on a daily basis, it’s easy for landscape maintenance to fall to the bottom on your to-do list.
A well-maintained educational facility with attractive, usable exterior spaces that connect school buildings; vibrant and even themed blooms throughout the year; and tidy and trimmed trees, shrubs, plants, and turf can improve the entire commercial site for everyone who uses it, as well as the local community.
A positive landscape environment can boost learning potential; enhance property safety and security; project a better brand image and reputation; keep traffic flow running smoothly; and even improve student attention spans, learning potential, and test scores.
An attractive landscape plays a more significant role than you think in what attracts students and their parents to a learning institution. A school surrounded by attractive landscaping is an inspiration to everyone on the property – teachers, school employees, students, and their parents. But landscaping doesn’t only beautify the environment, it actually assists the learning process by providing shade, cooling the nearby environment, encouraging students to love and appreciate the environment, and easing stress. A relaxed mind, in fact, can improve student behavior, boost positive thoughts, and make the learning process that much more beneficial.
For Shaker Heights Schools in Shaker Heights, Ohio, the district wanted to positively impact student learning and create a partnership with a company that helped amplify those educational opportunities with high-quality garden landscaping for schools.
Garden Landscaping for Schools at Shaker Heights Schools
The Shaker Heights City School District includes the city of Shaker Heights and a small portion of Cleveland near Shaker Square, encompassing about 7.5 square miles.
The District is situated close to Cleveland’s University Circle, the home of world-class hospitals and museums, such as The Cleveland Orchestra and Case Western Reserve University. Long known for the beauty of its neighborhoods and parklands, Shaker Heights is home to approximately 30,000 residents of diverse cultural backgrounds and is renowned for its commitment to educational excellence.
These outstanding schools and beautiful, welcoming neighborhoods draw families in. Many even stay in the community after graduation to make Shaker Heights their home.
The Shaker Heights schools currently serve about 5,200 students in eight buildings: five K-4 elementary schools (Boulevard, Fernway, Lomond, Mercer, and Onaway); Woodbury Elementary School (grades 5 and 6); Shaker Heights Middle School (grades 7 and 8); and Shaker Heights High School (grades 9-12).
Gardens connect some of the school buildings and community, which is why creating and maintaining excellent garden landscaping for schools was an important reason to bring Turfscape into the picture to help five years ago.
Shaker Heights Landscaping For Schools Solutions
The Turfscape crew began their work on Shaker Heights Schools, particularly helping with special gardens on the educational campus.
According to Dave Boyer, director of building and grounds for Shaker Heights Schools, “Turfscape’s philosophies and standards align with our district mission and our goals, objectives, and standards.”
Turfscape suggested long-term solutions for landscape maintenance for schools to assist in the health and appearance of the educational facility’s grounds, creating a multi-year plan focusing on high-quality maintenance and enhancements to keep the educational campus relevant, thriving, and highly functioning.
Taking Care of Special Shaker Heights Schools Gardens
The Audrey Stout Learning Garden at Shaker Heights High School is a living outdoor learning lab. The garden provides students with valuable experiential learning opportunities in a collaborative setting.
The garden is designed to reflect the school district’s commitment to the International Baccalaureate Programme and the diversity of the Shaker community. The four main quadrants of the garden are organized around regional themes: the Asian garden, the European garden, the African garden that has plants native to those regions, and a section focused on sustainable agriculture. The four central borders then contain plants native to the U.S.
This is a prime example of garden landscaping for schools that is meant to educate students in addition to amplifying the beauty of the local community.
Environmental science classes, as well as the SEEDS club (Service, Environmental Education, Diversity, and Sustainability), raise seasonal plants from seed. Students raise and care for seedlings, keeping careful records of successes and learning opportunities. Then planting and harvesting events invite community members and elementary school students throughout the year.
As Boyer says, “I enjoy doing this job because it impacts student learning, and the learning environment is important to the success of student achievement.
“From the time they get off the bus to the time they get into the school building, I touch all of that,” Boyer continues, explaining why landscaping for schools is so important. “I impact the education of the kids, and that’s important to me. Turfscape offers service as far as education goes and teaches them about projects and that goes a long way in this district to partner with someone who can bring that knowledge and experience.”
The produce grown in the garden is donated to area food banks; utilized in school lunches at Shaker Heights High School; transformed into recipes by Shaker Heights High School students; and used in projects that enable students to learn about scientific concepts in creative ways, like hand pressed paper, canned goods, and dried herbs.
According to Turfscape’s Bob Ramser, “the relationship with Shaker Heights Schools over the last five years has been a give and take. We work with the teachers on understanding native plant materials so they can teach the students, and we provide them with a post to sit and study and learn about native plants in our area.”
Caring For a 100-Year Old Rose Garden as Part of Garden Landscaping For Schools
The Shaker Heights Community Rose Garden was established in 1924. This year it celebrates its 100th anniversary in the community.
The schools got involved in the garden during its rebirth after a period of decline in the early 1990s.
The garden contains approximately 1,000 rose bushes, from old Damask Roses to modern ever-blooming floribunda and Hybrid Tea roses. The hybrid roses are organized by color and type in more than 30 beds — deep red roses in the southern-most beds, pink in the center beds, and yellow and white roses at the northern end. Most roses are labeled. An information panel at the north end of the garden includes a map of the garden and a list of donors and supporters. Most roses in the garden were planted after 1993, but there are still many pre-1993 specimens.
Turfscape helps maintain this rose garden as part of their full-service landscape maintenance for schools. “One of our goals is for the grounds to be used again and to have parents who come to pick up their kids enjoy walking through the garden,” Ramser says. “I have extreme pride in being able to give back to the community and to see people actually using it.”
The garden is located between Woodbury and Onaway Elementary Schools. “To tie together the gardens between multiple schools and see people actually use them brings a great amount of pride that we actually did something good for this district.”
Turfscape Positively Impacts Shaker Heights Schools
Turfscape’s landscape maintenance for schools and enhancements have positively impacted the overall health and appearance of Shaker Heights Schools.
And the positive relationship between the district and Turfscape is an important part of the process.
“Our experience with Turfscape has been great,” Boyer says. “They understand the community and the district and our goals and objectives when it comes to the grounds, and they take steps to make sure we maintain that.
“After over 30 years of working at facilities in public schools, the partnership with a company like Turfscape gives me a resource that helps not only make me successful,” Boyer adds, “but makes the district successful in our mission to provide an environment for kids to learn both inside and outside the classroom.”
Want to learn more about our commercial landscaping services for educational facilities in Northeast Ohio? Get started today with a free quote. We’ll review your options together so you can make a great choice.