Iowa Rural School Museum Outdoor Classroom

Benches from an outdoor classroom that once stood at the Odebolt-Arthur Elementary School
now sit outside the Iowa Rural Schools Museum.  Jack Bensley and Greg Neville Construction
restored the benches and completed the outdoor classroom project.

The Outdoor Classroom area at the Rural School Museum had its beginning in theOdebolt-Arthur Elementary Courtyard. Following the first 5th grade environmental tripin 1990 to Springbrook Conservation Center, the students and teachers fell in love with the horseshoe grouping of benches used to instruct and give directions to theparticipants for each of their activities.

Mrs. Bloom and Mr. Ludwig began the discussion of a possible classroom for the students at Odebolt-Arthur. Dale Gronemeyerliked the concept also, contributing an initial monetary donation from the Odeboltgraduation classes of 1940 and 1941. The school board approved the idea. The
teachers made a trip to the local saw mill in Auburn and returned with the first twelve native oak boards for the seats and backs.

Under the tutelage of Mr. Charles Foy, the industrial arts classes completed the construction and placement of the seven benches in a U-shaped pattern in the courtyard between the elementary and west wings. It was a perfect setting for outdoor instruction, relaxation, and escape from the inside confines of the classroom. The fifth grade teachers and students continued to make contributions to the outdoor classroom fund assisting in its maintenance.

In recent times, the area was changed to contain a portion of the playground. The benches were removed.

In 2013 the O-A School board donated the entire set-up to the Iowa Rural School Museum located at the Heritage Square in Odebolt. Greg Neville Construction and Jack Bensley have placed and restored the benches in a square formation near the Country School Museum. Now the visitors to the area have a location to gather, rest, and get directions for exploring the exhibits located in the area.  

A special thank you to all who have made this memory continue.

1 comment:

matt.ludwig said...

It is great to see that the Odebolt community can still enjoy the benches. I still remember the day that Mrs. Bloom (You were the best, Barb!) and I went to the sawmill. Lots of fond memories growing up and teaching in Odebolt.

Matt Ludwig