Shamrock Springs Elementary School to build nature preserve

An example of what the underground water viewing area may look like. (Submitted image)

An example of what the underground water viewing area may look like. (Submitted image)

By Anna Skinner

In a unique solution to provide drainage to the apartment complex planned across from Shamrock Springs Elementary School, Principal Robb Hedges proposed the school build a science center to aid in education.

Hedges and developer Birch Dalton have worked together to create an interesting collaboration that will benefit the apartment complex, Spring Mill Station, and also be valuable for the students at SSES.

Their solution? The Westfield Nature Preserve, a science center to be constructed at the school to allow kids an outdoor classroom and nature site and provide the necessary drainage to the apartment complex.

“This is one of those situations I feel like is a win-win not only for the developer, but also to Shamrock Springs and also everyone in the Westfield area,” Hedges said at a school board meeting. “The developer gets a pond for the drainage area, and we get a state of the art science facility to benefit the students of SS and really be used throughout Westfield. If everything comes to fruition the way we want it to, I can’t imagine a better one in the state.”

In the plan, there is a pond with prairie grass and trees. There will also be learning stations placed around the nature preserve that are acceptable for each grade level.

“One of the things we want to do for our students is develop an area similar to our native land before the agriculture and development,” Hedges said.

One aspect of the Westfield Nature Preserve that Hedges said will make the facility state of the art is the proposed underground viewing facility.

“There is a glass area underneath the pond where students can see all the different activity taking place underneath the pond, such as plants, fish, and different habitats taking place,” he said, mentioning the underground view will be similar to that of the Indianapolis Zoo’s polar bear exhibit.

Appropriate fencing will be constructed around the pond for protection.

The project is currently finishing up final plans and engineering, but has passed through the city council and the school board.

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