WELLSVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – The kids at Garfield Elementary in Wellsville can look forward to some lessons taught outside. A new outdoor learning center is in the works and was kickstarted by the love of their principal.

The pavilion sits just across the street from the main entrance of Garfield Elementary. What used to be there was a house that was owned by an elderly woman.

After a deal was made between her and both the school’s principal and her husband, the deed was signed over to the Columbiana County Land Bank. Then finally, it went into the hands of the school district.

“I knew I wanted to do something for the kids at the school and we came up with the outdoor learning center idea from that because we’re fairly landlocked here at the school,” said Garfield Elementary Principal Lisa Ferguson.

Knowing what she wanted to do with the land, Ferguson had to find a way to turn an idea into reality.

“We started with a challenge to the community. We have raised the money for the entire project. Fortunately, it has not cost our school district any monies thus far,” she said.

They raised around $23,000.

It’s not ready yet, but Ferguson knows what’s going in.

“We will have picnic tables underneath the pavilion. We will have raised bed gardens for each grade level behind the pavilion and then we eventually hope to fence it in for safety purposes,” she said.

Third-grader Abby Cooper has already gotten involved. She won a “design the sign” contest and it will be placed on the pavilion.

“It will say ‘designed by that student’ and it will say ‘Outdoor Learning Center, Garfield Elementary,'” Ferguson said.

A project that started with the love of a principal will help students for years to come.

“I love the students of this community,” Ferguson said. “This is something that is going to be here for these kids long after I’m gone and something they can enjoy for hopefully many years to come.”

The plan is to have this project completely done and ready to go by the time the school year starts in the fall.