Pictured above, the new 7,000 square-foot LEED-certified Blandford School sets a precedent for the Grand Rapids Public Schools. Not only does it feature the latest advancements in green building, Blandford also sets a new financing standard. With the lead $1.5 million gift from The Wege Foundation and other private donors added to GRPS’ funds, the $2.3 million school serves as a template for private-public funding in education.
The mosaic in the upper left corner was created by last year’s BEEPs, (Blandford students’ nickname) to honor Blandford Nature Center and School founder Mary Jane Dockery. In January, the Dockery mosaic welcomed this year’s 60 sixth graders as they left their leaky portable classrooms to enter the almost doubled space of their new school.
Shown in the center photo is Bert Bleke, a former GRPS superintendent and long-time supporter of Blandford School and Nature Center. He greets GRPS Superintendent Teresa Neal on the school’s opening day.
And the bottom picture is a classroom door that was hand carved out of basswood by BEEP teacher, Cheri McKay. Jeff Lende, the other BEEP teacher, carved his own door leading into his classroom.