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Wauka sets stage for outdoor classes
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A new amphitheater will open to students this week at Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy.

The project began last July to create a 12-by-16-foot stage along with seating for about 70 people. The site is surrounded by maple trees and crepe myrtles, along with a concrete sidewalk that winds through the garden.

“We wanted a quiet place for kids to have class or teachers to have lunch and improve the aesthetic value of the area,” project designer and Parent Teacher Organization President Ken Stanley said.

Principal Jo Dinnan secured a $5,000 grant from Lowe’s home improvement store, which paid for most of the materials.

Parents of the elementary school students provided most of the manpower.

Stanley said parents and community members worked every weekend, and the project was completed Saturday.

“We would be out there in 100-degree heat, plugging away,” Stanley said.

The former space was a courtyard, Stanley said, and sort of an eyesore. There was exposed run off, a huge transformer, rocks and red clay.

For dramatic performances, the school used a portable stage that was moved into the cafeteria or gym, Dinnan said.

“The school was built in 1979, and there haven’t been a load of improvements since then,” Stanley said.

The new amphitheater will serve as an outdoor classroom as well as place for student presentations and dramatic performances. The amphitheater also is handicap accessible.

Stanley said he hopes it will provide the children, and his children Anna Grace and Emma Rae, with a nontraditional classroom environment.

“The oldest one can’t wait to have a class out there because she’s taken part in helping to build it. She put down some decking boards,” he said.

The school’s drama students are looking forward to the stage’s inaugural performance, Dinnan said. On Oct. 28, they will perform “Seussical,” a musical based on the books of Dr. Seuss.