Our school’s greenspaces and parking lot have been completely redesigned with the help of a generous Enbridge Ecofootprint Grant.

MSD has had a longstanding goal to transform our property into a more natural environment and to, more than ever, bring the Montessori learning environment outside. That goal was made a reality with a grant of nearly $80k from Enbridge, plus $10k from the South St. Louis Soil & Water Conservation District. Now that the work on this project is finished, our school campus is a great example of responsible land stewardship for the entire community. Rainwater is reclaimed through rain barrels and rain gardens. A redesigned parking lot provides easier drop-off and pick-up. A dramatically increased green area provides room to run. The transformed grounds also serve as a classroom for studying the natural sciences.

Our grant application targeted improving and protecting surface and groundwater quality in the Tischer Creek and 34th Avenue Creek watersheds. The grant was administered by the Minnesota Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, Inc.

The production of the grant’s application was a true team effort by both the Building and Grounds committee and the support of the following professional services providers and their in-kind donations of the work outlined below:

  • Krech Ojard and Associates — Under the management of Nels Ojard and Kevin Ehrenreich, K&O was the project’s primary consultant and further supported the project’s construction estimate, stormwater treatment calculations, as well as the majority of the grant’s narrative.
  • Technical Design Services — Under the management of Troy Schlutz and Trish Stinnet contributed Landscape Architecture services as well as the production of the “Proposed Project Plan” in concert with K&O.
  • Northwestern Surveying & Engineering — Under the management of John Peterson, NWS completed the topographical survey of the site which was used as the base data for TDS and K&O to complete their designs.
  • Great Lakes Excavation — Under the management of Kevin Christianson, performed the earth work to ensure appropriate site drainage and install the new green areas.
  • Sinnot Blacktop — Installing the blacktop needed for the drive-through lane and reduced parking area.
  • Thibodeau, Johnson, and Feriancek, PLLP — Under the management of Matt Thibodeau, contributed an in-kind donation of $8,000 for zoning, permitting, and variance services.
  • Additionally, Don Ness and Anne Nephew, with support from Jim Nephew, were responsible for the creation of two wonderful letters of support to the project. And one of our newest parents, Jason Ellis, helped in the review of the grant and provided salient guidance.

Fox 21 featured a story on the transformation, which you can view here!

This project was the first step in our long-term outdoor renewal plan spearheaded by the Building and Grounds Committee. The next step was installing new play equipment in our outdoor playspaces, to make MSD’s grounds a seamless extension of Montessori learning for our students. Finally, we added a rooftop solar panel installation to improve the school’s overall sustainability.