Norwalk Schools Improve Curb Appeal With New Landscaping Contract

NORWALK – Expect to see more color and less weeds in flower beds on school grounds from this month.

Norwalk Public Schools recently agreed to a three-year, $150,000-a-year contract with Love Your Home LLC, a Fairfield County landscaping company, to improve the curb appeal of its school buildings. . The school’s investment in landscaping previously only went into lawn mowing services. This cost was $78,000 per year.

Love Your Home will improve the appearance of school exteriors by planting and maintaining garden beds, trimming trees and shrubs, and cleaning gutters. The company will also provide lawn mowing services, although the school district and the city’s recreation and parks department negotiated an agreement for the city to do more of that work.

“It gives us a greater sense of community, a greater sense of pride in our schools,” said Sandra Faioes, assistant superintendent of business and operations for Norwalk Public Schools. “We all benefit from more attention to our schoolyards and neighborhoods. And schools are part of our neighborhoods, so we want to treat our schools like people treat their homes.

Brien McMahon and Norwalk high schools first benefited from the new landscapers, sprucing up their grounds in preparation for their high school graduation ceremonies last month.

“We can’t wait eight years for a school to start getting attention. It’s about doing what we can in the meantime to make sure people are in a safe, clean and comfortable environment,” Faioes told the school board’s facilities committee last month.

Students and staff can also take advantage of their school grounds using new outdoor learning spaces installed this spring at six schools – Silvermine, Naramake, Fox Run, Wolfpit, Roton and Ponus Ridge. Additional schools are envisaged in the recently reconciled operating budget.

Each learning space includes a large planter that can accommodate half a class, seating for students to receive instructions, and a whiteboard for teachers to write notes. The space is covered by a large canopy structure. The learning space is also equipped with a public address system for school announcements, a security camera and a buzzer.

“With COVID, we have seen how critical it is to have outdoor space available for staff and for students. Obviously the outdoors was a lot safer than being indoors, but there are other benefits… not related to physical health like the mental health benefits,” Faioes said.

Teachers can use the space to give students a change of scenery to break up their day. The outdoor learning space can provide a greater opportunity for a STEM lesson or project. Schools can also use their flower beds to grow vegetables that can be used in their cafeterias.

“We got a lot of compliments on this,” said Bill Hodel, director of facilities and maintenance at Norwalk Public Schools, during the facilities committee meeting. “Teachers are very excited to start using them at the start of next school year.”

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Terri S. Tomasini