Mill Falls Supports Inter-Lakes Elementary School “Living Classroom” Project

Left to right: Dr. Steven Kelley, Principal of I-LES; Maia Brown; Amelia Brown (both 6th graders); and Michelle Brown, Mill Falls Marketing Director

Left to right: Dr. Steven Kelley, Principal of I-LES; Maia Brown; Amelia Brown (both 6th graders); and Michelle Brown, Mill Falls Marketing Director

Inter-Lakes Elementary School recently reached its start-up fundraising goal and has broken ground for the school’s latest project—a greenhouse that will be used as a “Living Classroom,” providing unique opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning for all Pre-K – 6th grade students who attend the school.

The Living Classroom will be used for a wide range of teaching and learning experiences that cut across all areas of the curriculum, including reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Lessons can all be taught in new and innovative ways using the greenhouse as a springboard for experiential education. According to the project’s website, “the Living Classroom will allow teachers to teach differently and students to learn differently, resulting in increased student investment in school and a growth in student achievement.”

Mill Falls at the Lake was one of the major contributors to the project, helping Inter-Lakes Elementary School (I-LES) reach its initial fundraising goal by donating $10,000 toward the expenses of bringing the Living Classroom to life.

“We have reached our financial goal of $65,000 and the Mill Falls donation was instrumental in helping us get there,” said Dr. Steven Kelley, principal of I-LES. “The $65,000 we have raised will cover the costs for the construction of the greenhouse. However, future donations are still needed in order for us to furnish the inside of the greenhouse. We need a sink, potting benches, tools, and timbers to build raised beds.” So far, all funds raised toward the project have been through community contributions. The school has not received any federal or state grants for the Living Classroom.

Currently, all the site-work for the greenhouse is complete, the foundation has been poured, and construction of the framing began last Friday. After the frame is finished, workers will attach the polycarbonate roof and siding, and then finish the interior by building a paver walkway and creating the growing beds. Dr. Kelley hopes the Living Classroom will be completed by mid-October. “We will be having a ribbon cutting ceremony and inviting the community and all donors to share in the celebration,” he said.

“I am extremely excited about what the Living Classroom Greenhouse will do for our students,” continued Dr. Kelley. “The learning opportunities are endless and the greenhouse will provide a wonderful year-round learning venue for hands-on learning. The thing I’m most surprised (and thankful) about has been the tremendous community support for this project—both financial support and volunteer support—to make this happen. People truly believe in this project and support what it will do to promote active student learning.”

“I-LES students and educators have an amazing opportunity in front of them and Mill Falls is proud to support their efforts, ” said Michelle Brown, Marketing Director at Mill Falls at the Lake.

For more information or to make a donation to the Living Classroom Greenhouse, please visit the project’s website at

For additional information on Meredith and some of the great events happening around the Lakes Region, visit and And don’t forget to stop by the Mill Falls at the Lake website, too, at

Carrie Reed
Mill Falls Blogging Team

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