Oconomowoc teacher, students make outdoor classroom a reality

Posted at 6:56 PM, Jun 01, 2017

An Oconomowoc teacher had a vision of taking her classes outside, and thanks to the hard work of her students, their parents, and local businesses, that vision became a reality.

Brooke Holzbauer wanted a spot for her 8th grade students outside Nature Hill Intermediate School.

"It would be really awesome if we had a space to go to read, to write, to do tons of things," she said.

Holzbauer talked to students including Nadia Brown.

"When we researched about it there were so many opportunities this could provide we hadn't looked at in the past," Brown said.

Students then talked to their parents about helping out and funding the project.

"The whole process surprised me, how persistent they were, how detailed they were about everything," said Aaron Brown, Nadia's dad and owner of Outdoor Living Unlimited.

His company helped lay the groundwork for the patio project.

"The girls started with a design that was just a square," Brown said. "That's when we brought our designer into the process."

Together they developed plans for a large, outdoor space with pavers and pergolas.

The students hit a few snags with funding. They were told “no” many times over, but they continued to go door-to-door to local businesses, and they also worked with the PTO to obtain enough funding for the classroom.

Now they have an outdoor classroom the entire school can use.

They eventually plan to add an outdoor whiteboard, furniture, and landscaping. People can buy bricks to help fund those projects. There is more information on Nature Hill Intermediate School's website.