Dr. Meghan Twiest is in charge of the construction going on in the courtyard behind Stouffer Hall. It is the beginnings of a new outdoor learning center that will be completed during the Spring 2010 semester.
Dr. Mary Ann Rafoth, dean of the College of Education and Educational Technology, came to her with the idea of doing something productive with the space, and since then the idea of the learning center has developed into an amazing creation. There will be an aesthetic area complete with a waterfall and pond, as well as a variety of plant life all around the courtyard.
The education majors at IUP will be creating a curriculum to teach elementary school students who will be able to visit the learning center. The curriculum will also be given to the elementary school teachers so that if they want to teach their own students on their own time, they will be able. The curriculum will change every year so that students are never bored by listening to repeated information. There will be one pavilion placed in the middle of the wildlife that will be used for teaching as well as for speakers coming to talk. It will only be closed on one side, with the three remaining sides open in order to keep the outdoor feel. Inside will be enough room to comfortably fit thirty people.
The outdoor learning center will also have Wi-Fi so that students can connect to the Internet with their laptops and study. There will be informational kiosks placed at both entrances from Stouffer, and there will be a gate across the open space next to the back parking lot in order to keep everything from making its home in the learning center. However, not all wildlife will be excluded. There will be one corner of the courtyard that will remain untouched by construction to see what kind of plant and insect life accumulate there. It will be a good observation place for all who are interested.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the grand opening of Stouffer’s outdoor learning center next Fall!
Content by Zachary Salopek