“Can’t we do it ourselves?” This was the question I asked months ago when talking to Mark Voorhees, our district’s construction manager from Campus Construction about the landscaping outside of our new addition. We could have included the work as part of our capital project and paid for a professional landscaping company but that would have totaled $15,000-$20,000. That amount seemed exorbitant to me–I’m a gardener!–and we could buy a lot of technology equipment for classrooms with that much money. Well, much to my surprise and delight, Mark Voorhees came back to me about a month later and asked, “were you serious about doing the landscaping? Because I think we could do it.”
With Mark on board volunteering his effort (and let me say now that Mark worked harder than anyone else the last two days) and a crew of willing teenagers working at Randolph Central this summer through Chautauqua Works, we figured we could tackle it. Dave Davison, our high school principal climbed on board, and we had an honest to goodness work crew. Unskilled, yes–enthusiastic, definitely.
That left finding a local nursery where we could buy our plants and materials and John O’Brien at Robert’s Nursery in Falconer came through in every imaginable way. He sold us everything at 10% off but better yet he hand drew a design for each of the nine beds, delivered everything and brought three of his men (thanks Troy, Dean and Richard!) to teach us the proper way to plant it all—for no extra charge. It certainly helped that the whole Robert’s Nursery crew graduated from Randolph Central! Total cost? $4000. Quite a bit better than the projected $15,000-20,000 to hire someone to come in and do it, don’t you think?
As a bonus, I got to know Steven, Tim, Cody, Jeremy, and Travis better. They worked right alongside us for two full days, in the pouring rain Wednesday and in the resulting mud Thursday. We’ve got one more day’s worth of work today but I’d say it was worth it in every way. I returned home physically exhausted, filthy dirty and feeling a sense of accomplishment and pride in our buildings that will last a long time. We still have construction going on so it’s not quite the show place it will be with the port-a-john, dumpster and cement mixer blocking the view, but it will be.
Randolph has always taken great pride in our facilities. I’m hoping that the beautiful gardens we’ve created together will perpetuate that feeling and perhaps soften the disappointment so many felt when the steel siding first went up. Following, have a look at our progress, but better yet–stop by and see for yourself. We hope to finish this afternoon when the rain lets up.
MANY, MANY THANKS TO THE ENTIRE CREW! You gave us something worth taking care of and so much better than beds of grass to mow.