The "Cougar Den" stands behind the school in a V-shaped space. It contains several benches and picnic tables, a garden with plenty of cucumbers and a pergola -- a garden feature that forms a shaded walkway or sitting area. And it was built with many donations and the hands of three teachers and several students.
"Everything we've done, and I mean everything, has been donated," kindergarten teacher Nana Rising said.
Rising, first-grade teacher Jennifer Conley and second-grade teacher Vicki Sanders helped to organize and create the space, at times with their own hands.
Over this past summer, the teachers and some students helped spread truckloads of mulch in the Cougar Den garden and at the front of the school. With the heat this past summer, it was no easy task, Rising said.
But the students and teachers were not alone. Cox Trucking excavated the property, Martin Marietta Stone donated the gravel, Boy Scout Troop 99 and scout Jacob Reed donated the benches, Glenn and Fern Riechmann donated the picnic tables, Dale Sillery donated the mulch and many other parents have contributed manpower or donations to the cause.
The area has already seen some use since school began, Conley said. Art classes have already used the space to draw and learn, and the space is good for the new science curriculum the school implemented over the summer. Students have also used it as a place to relax and read, among other things. The potential for the space is endless, Conley said.
"It's a quiet place to come...a good quiet place to relax," Sanders said.
A few more materials would be essential to improving the space's quality though. Many gardening tools have been donated by Roachdale Hardware and Roachdale Building Supply, but the space still needs a storage area, garden hoses and a few other materials to take advantage of the space.
That's why the school will hold a Community Yard Sale on Oct. 15. Proceeds from the event will help the school pay for these improvements.
In the meantime, teachers and students will watch the garden grow as they enjoy the fruits of their labor.