The first phase of a beautification project was completed for Mariner Middle School last week in time for the first day of school, thanks to EnSite's giving back program EnRichment, which provides both beautification to the campus and outdoor learning experiences for students.
Mariner MIddle School Principal Rachel Gould said the campus looks incredible.
"It is beyond beautiful," she said. "We appreciate what EnSite did for our school."
Jonathan Romine, who led the design, coordination and installation for the project with Ensite, said so far he has put more than 100 hours into the project. He has spent eight days on the campus, which ranged from eight hours a day to four hours a day with many other volunteers.
The first phase of the project was completed before the students returned from Spring Break last year. It included the planting of 20 fox tail palm trees as the students walk onto campus and eight 4x8 raised garden beds.
Romine said the last bit of phase one included dressing up the front of the school with palms, shade trees and shrubs where the parent pick up area is located. He said they also re-mulched everything and cleaned up the area.
"All of phase one is now finished," he said about the completion last Friday in time for Mariner Middle's open house last Saturday.
In October, Gould said they are going to have an art and music walk in the courtyard to show off its beauty.
Gould said the students have been respectful of the new additions to the campus by staying off the grass.
"They are enjoying the atmosphere," she said, adding that the students have been much calmer and quieter due to the first phase of the beautification project being completed.
The project has two remaining phases that Romine hopes to start during spring break or next summer.
The second phase will address the water retention area on the north side of the campus, which is currently all grass.
Romine said they are going to create a rain garden to collect stormwater runoff, which will also attract wildlife. He said the area will be a good place for science experiments.
The last phase will include additional campus beautification for the parking lot and front of the building.
"Our focus was essentially to hit the high-traffic areas and then focus on the outlining areas," Romine said.
If Mariner Middle put a bid out for the project, Romine said it would have cost them $35,000 to complete. Due to the donations from businesses, the project only cost the school $1,300.
Romine said he hopes to put a sign in front of the school that lists all the businesses and individuals who donated items and their time to complete the project.
"This is something we are passionate about," Romine said, because the community, faculty and staff, along with businesses efforts, made it all happen. "It is a community effort ... more than just us to make this happen."
Romine said he is more than pleased on how the project has turned out, along with everyone who has come out to help the project come along.
To maintain the beautification of the campus, Romine said part of his goal is to work with the school's maintenance person to help and educate him on how to properly prune the trees and shrubs to allow them to grow the way they are intended.
He said a few of the classrooms are also going to be heavily involved in keeping up the landscape and raised gardens.
Gould said her two horticulture classes will take care of the campus a daily basis. She said more students have requested the elective course than what it holds.
The landscaping is all near irrigation that already was in place, so they will not have to worry about watering everything.
"I am excited for the school year, it is going to be a great year," Gould said.
Romine said part of attracting businesses and people to move to Cape Coral is the quality of their school system.
"We have a pretty phenomenal school system," he said.