Adults and children could be seen spraying, sweeping and shoveling in front of Marlatt Elementary School this weekend, helping to landscape as part of the school’s improvement project.
Brett Nelson, principal of Marlatt, said construction is in its final stages. “The gym here is the last thing to be done,” Nelson said. “Basically, what we are left with is a bunch of areas to landscape.”
Nelson said the bond did not include money for landscaping. So he went to the Parent-Teacher Organization and asked them for help.
“They put together a landscape committee and had Blueville design all the flowerbeds,” Nelson said. “Then the committee got the parents and teachers together to volunteer to put those beds in.”
Jaime Kaus, head of the PTO landscaping committee, said the members raised the $10,600 needed to purchase shrubs, rock, seed and trees. Then the organization asked for volunteers to put all the plants into the beds. “So, we have saved quite a bit of money,” Kaus said.
Volunteers worked all week to get the beds ready for planting this weekend. Kaus said about 30 volunteers came out Saturday.
On Friday the prep crew not only removed old bushes and shrubs but also took down an old fence along the northeast corner of the school. One parent brought a front-end loader to help moved the heavier items, like the rocks filling the beds. Even the principal helped run the loader.
“The kids enjoyed seeing him (the principal) drive that thing around yesterday at school,” said Rob Samenus, a Manhattan firefighter and volunteer.
Samenus was out in the rain Friday evening helping to plant the trees in front of the school, and was back on Saturday shoveling rocks and mud in flowerbeds. He has three children who either attend or attended Marlatt.
Kaus said the volunteers would probably finish planting all the beds this weekend, but would have to come back to finish the cleaning.
“We have a backup weekend next weekend, Oct. 20, in case we don’t get it all in this weekend,” Nelson said.