In the fall of 2019, the Flint Hills Discovery Center announced the building of an outdoor classroom to complement its newest outdoor exhibit, the Prairie Garden Terrace & Trail. Construction of the outdoor classroom took place during the first week of September.
The outdoor classroom is located on the southeast side of the FHDC. Construction was led by Koch Construction Specialties, LLC. The team built nearly 45 linear feet of dry stone sitting wall with flat capstones using traditional drystone masonry. This technique involves carefully shaping and placing the native Kansas stones together without the use of any mortar. The stones are held by gravity and friction alone.
The seating was built in a wide arch to create an open space for future presenters and programs. The outdoor classroom is able to seat approximately 25 people at a time. Accompanying the classroom will be an interpretive panel explaining the traditional dry stone construction technique seen throughout the Flint Hills.
“The new outdoor classroom continues our efforts to connect local residents to the natural world. We now have the opportunity to provide new, engaging outdoor programs like birdwatching, stargazing and live animal demos in a purpose built space,” said Curator of Education Stephen Bridenstine.
The space is free and accessible to the public during daylight hours. Guests are welcome to come and enjoy the space for reflection, relaxation and nature exploration.
Supporters of the Project
This enhancement project was made possible by the Caroline Peine Charitable Foundation/The Manhattan Fund, Bank of America, N.A. Trustee, Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation, Koch Construction Specialties, LLC, City of Manhattan and Manhattan Parks and Recreation.