Purdy school, city to collaborate on beautification

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Summer school effort proposed as project-based learning

A formal request has been made by the Purdy school district to collaborate with the city of Purdy on some beautification efforts in the community during summer school.

Superintendent Steven Chancellor told city council members the district cannot create a class for community service, but a project-based learning class framed around science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) could serve the same purpose.

Melissa Horn, a new fourth-grade teacher, presented Chancellor with a variety of ideas for community improvements within reach. One involved approaching the owners of the Country Corner convenience store for permission to rehab the "clean restrooms" sign there.

Initially Horn said the district proposed placing a sign saying "Welcome to Purdy, Home of the Eagles" by the water tanks at the convenience store facing Highway 37. However, Horn said after discussing the idea with a representative of the Missouri Department of Transportation, since the site sits on state right of way, restrictions existed, some because the highway is supported with federal funding.

Only the city or the Chamber of Commerce are authorized to post a sign saying, "Welcome," she said. Moreover, a sign stating "Home of the Eagles" would require a permit. There were even limits to placing flowers on the site. Chancellor stressed the school was not trying to create a problem for the city, but he and Horn were clearly dumbfounded by the roadblocks encountered.

"We don't have a problem with you doing this at all," said Mayor Steve Roden. "Without a vote, I can say we're 100 percent behind it."

Chancellor said the district planned to seek additional adult volunteers, including the Purdy Fire District and the Missouri National Guard, to help handle saws and other physical work that may not be appropriate for untrained students. For their part, the students would use their skills to design flower planters, wood benches, measuring materials. One of the projects suggested would be a book drop box, creating a free library to donate and take a book, that could be located in a public place.

Students would work on projects during the week, and Fridays would become work days in the field. Adults interested in helping may contact Chancellor.

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