LAPS Begins Installation Of Outdoor Learning Shade Structures Funded By Los Alamos County

Los Alamos Public Schools is preparing for the installation of outdoor learning shade structures. Photo Courtesy LAPS


The installation of outdoor learning shade structures at school sites in the Los Alamos Public Schools district began this week with holes being drilled for poles at Chamisa Elementary. Piñon Elementary will be next, followed by Aspen, Barranca and Mountain Elementary schools and the middle and high schools.

“We want to thank Los Alamos County for funding this project,” said Supt. Kurt Steinhaus. “The opportunity for outdoor learning will benefit both our students and staff well-being.”

Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved the funding request from LAPS back in August. The shade structures will significantly increase student and staff safety and expand classroom space by up to 30%.

“These outdoor shades are awesome,” said Audrey Nolen, School Board student liaison and a Piñon Elementary alumnus. “The area between the buildings is often used for projects and outdoor activities during class, so having shade will make it easier to work outside and hopefully encourage more teachers to let students work outside, especially in the spring, when it’s beautiful outside. That’s also a great addition because students eat lunch in that area year-round, so they’ll have protection from the elements. All of that combined with the decreased risk of disease transmission makes this an addition I wish had been put in place years ago.”

According to the article, Schools Turned to Outdoor Learning for Safe, Equitable Instruction in 2020. They Don‘t Have to Go Back, “The risk of virus transmission is roughly 20 times lower outdoors than indoors. We know from research and experience that expanding the classroom into outdoor spaces, both on and off school grounds, will address academic, health and economic needs—during this pandemic and long after. Spending time outdoors is critical to students’ intellectual, physical and mental well-being”.