R.H. Conwell School, town of Worthington raising funds to construct pavilion

  • Worthington Town Hall

Staff Writer
Published: 8/8/2022 2:34:34 PM
Modified: 8/8/2022 2:31:17 PM

WORTHINGTON — Efforts are underway to construct a pavilion on the grounds of the R.H. Conwell Elementary School for use by the school and the wider community.

“It’s something that we talked about pre-COVID,” said Gretchen Morse-Dobosz, who serves as both the superintendent and principal of the school.

Morse-Dobosz said that outdoor learning is a key part of the school’s mission, and the pandemic showed that all curriculum areas could be done outside.

“Students really responded academically and behaviorally,” Morse-Dobosz said, who noted that there was an increase in academic achievement and a decrease in negative behaviors.

On the community use side, Morse-Dobosz said the pavilion could be used for such things as special Town Meetings, and she noted the close connection R.H. Conwell has with the community at large.

In addition to a $15,000 grant, one individual has pledged $10,000 to the pavilion project, which Morse-Dobosz said will cost around $90,000.

“The town’s also considering using some ARPA money for it,” said Select Board Member Charley Rose, who said the town would benefit from an outdoor gathering space.

Rose said he hopes the space could be expandable, so that it could possibly host an annual Town Meeting in the future.

Morse-Dobosz said the group is looking for a community member who has wood on their property that could be used as part of the pavilion’s frame. Additionally, she said that they’re looking at having an event next spring akin to a “barn raising” for the pavilion.

Morse-Dobosz said that an effort is underway to reform the School’s Parent Teacher Organization, and for the PTO to form a nonprofit to allow it to take donations for the pavilion project.

She also spoke about encouraging parents to come back into the building and volunteer as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school district has formed a committee to explore creating the pavilion, which has Rose and Morse-Dobosz on it, and Morse-Dobosz said that the committee is looking for a member to help with grant writing. Those interested in applying can email gmorsedobosz@hr-k12.org.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.
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