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Richland Farm Will Be Converted to Classrooms

Thursday, December 30, 2010
By Jacob Flannick

Sustaining local agriculture and preserving the environment will be important areas of focus during construction of Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus in Richland, Chatham’s president told the Pine-Richland school board at its last meeting.

Many of the barns at the 388-acre farm on Ridge Road that will accommodate Chatham’s new School of Sustainability and the Environment will be converted into facilities and classrooms, Chatham president Esther Barrazzone said Dec. 20.

The new school will offer programs such as an environmental learning lab, initiatives in sustainability and environmental studies, food studies, landscape architecture and women’s studies.

Also at the Dec. 20 board meeting, Eden Hall Upper Elementary School principal Robert Cooper brought the board up to date on the school’s bully-free initiatives.

Assistant principal Joe Domagala, guidance counselor Melissa Sullivan and fifth-grade teacher Ryan Woods participated in the presentation.

Mainly focusing on the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, Mr. Domagala discussed the importance of a proactive approach.

“Everyone has to be on board with what we’re promoting to our school,” he said, encouraging student, parent and faculty involvement. But some board members expressed concern about the program.

Scott Stedeford said it targeted students who are too young for it, and that youngsters labeled bullies might have a difficult transition to middle school because of it.

Board President Stephen Hawbaker noted the importance of rewarding students who report bullying. “We must have our students confident in reporting things,” he said.

The board also discussed the district’s price rates for patrons to use district facilities. Board members in April unveiled a proposed schedule for charging fees to rent school facilities, including $15 per hour for a classroom, $100 per use for some athletic fields and $1,000 plus electricity for use of the high school stadium.

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