Archive for Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Beautification committee completes landscaping effort at SM Northwest

The west side of Shawnee Mission Northwest, after a recent landscaping effort concluded.

The west side of Shawnee Mission Northwest, after a recent landscaping effort concluded.

June 8, 2011

Members of Shawnee Mission Northwest's PTSA and community volunteers installed more than 50 plants along the school's west entrance last month.

Members of Shawnee Mission Northwest's PTSA and community volunteers installed more than 50 plants along the school's west entrance last month.

Years of planning and months of preparation concluded last month with a makeover for the west façade of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School.

The brainchild of two former Parents-Teachers-Students Association members, the beautification project attracted contributions from Lowes, area nurseries, parents and students.

Finishing touches were made May 21, concluding a process that began more than four years ago.

“Every time we walked in, we were so passionate about the school — the spirit it has inside and the excellence it has — we just felt the outside didn’t reflect that,” Beata Foreman said.

Foreman and Cathy Goodger co-chaired the PTSA’s beautification committee.

Googder estimated the total cost of the project to be around $3,000 — $2,500 of which came from a Toolbox Grant from Lowes and the remainder of the monies acquired internally through a Target rebate program aimed at benefiting schools.

Though they estimated the project to be worth around $3,000, Foreman and Goodger said the value of the work was likely more due to discounts received by contributing businesses.

Foreman and Goodger said at least 50 plants were installed, including annual flowers and shrubs and weeping cedar trees Goodger said will soften the look of the school’s brick exterior throughout the year.

The project’s design came from Jonah Nelson from Family Tree Nursery. Foreman and Goodger said they were surprised at how quickly they fell in love with his plan as the two say they often differ on ideas.

Goodger said Nelson was able to donate the right amount of time drawing the design and shared plenty of enthusiasm.

“Which you need, I think, because it’s not a huge project,” Goodger said. “He really just said, ‘We can make this special, we can do some things that you’re going to be really happy with.’”

The project began last fall when two years of construction at Northwest opened up space for work to begin.

Foreman and Goodger met with designers in November and chose Nelson earlier this year.

They said they chose hearty, established plants between 1 and 5 gallons for the project. The May 21 planting finally arrived once prom and graduation season ran its course.

Now that their children have graduated, Foreman and Goodger hope the committee will continue providing upkeep for the renovated area.

Goodger said enough money remains in the committee’s fund to provide for professional upkeep for about a year. For now, though, the two visit the site each week to water and care for the plants.

Goodger said the committee needs just two to four members and a $500 budget to maintain the additions. She said additional projects could also be planned for the east side of the school, but more grants and time would be necessary.

For now, the two are concerned about keeping the plants healthy during the hot summer months and making sure their efforts are maintained for years to come.

“When school starts, we’re turning over the torch,” Goodger said.

However, Foreman added: “Put it this way: we wouldn’t leave it hanging.”

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