Community COVID-19 Featured

Advocate donates timber structure to NNEC for classroom

Timmmmbeeerrr! Fortunately, there are no logs falling at North Nova Education Centre but there are soon to be some erected for a new outdoor classroom, thanks to a donation from Advocate Media.

A large timber frame that was once used as an expo feature at forums as a large and eye-catching decoration has been donated to the school and will be given new life. The large frame will now be repurposed to create an outdoor classroom to help NNEC.

In the months following the opening of local schools in the grips of a global health pandemic, the school has been seeking ways to help students and staff safely distance and make more use of the school grounds to help alleviate the need for masking up in classes and simply to enjoy the weather. After looking into how the structure could be funded, shop teacher Andrew Parsons happened to have a conversation with Advocate CEO and president Sean Murray who suggested the timber frame the company had in storage would be perfect for the job.

“Over the last few years a number of students and I have built a number of timber frames,” said Parsons, noting that he has experience with timber framing. He has built a number of structures, including his own home, using timber frames and shared that he was looking forward to the project.

“In conversation with Sean Murray I mentioned that we had plans to build this outdoor classroom,” Parsons said. This is when the timber frame came up and eventually led to Parsons receiving photos showing the timber and closer details of it to ensure it would work.

“I think we are all in the mindset of finding ways to repurpose things that we are no longer using. The timber frame that we donated to NNEC had a great life as part of our Saltscapes event that celebrates life on the East Coast. I am very excited to see how the students at NNEC will learn from their experience with the timber frame rebuild,” said Crystal Murray, president of media operations with Advocate Media.

The teacher shared that his students are also eager to begin the project and have a chance to use real materials that would be used on a job site.

“I think they’re keen to build anything,” he said. Parsons shared that the project will begin by putting down screwpiles and then tipping up part of the frame to begin piecing it together.

The plan for the structure is to have it set up just off of the school’s soccer field near a paved walkway to allow for a disability entrance to the structure. A roof will be added to the structure to allow for a sheltered classroom and a place for fans to sit during sports games.

NNEC Principal Ann Findlay was thrilled with the donation. “To be given a donation of such high value for something long term… It’ll have a lasting impact, that’s for sure.”

North Nova Education Centre students load timber from a trailer to the schoolyard after a donation by Advocate Media to help build an outdoor classroom for the school. (Brimicombe photo)