Bermudian Springs Middle School courtyard built by generosity

Bermudian Springs alumnus Alex Huntington beamed as children scampered across the sun-filled courtyard that he designed.

The stone pavers in shades of gray and white at Bermudian Springs Middle School form the shape of an eagle — his alma mater’s mascot. Green artificial turf surrounds the stone.

berm ribbon cutting 1

Huntington, a 2014 graduate, is part of the team at Hanover Architectural Products that helped transform the courtyard from a drawing to reality. The company, headed by President Kevin Repasky, donated the pavers and labor to install them.

On Tuesday, school officials, families and people who worked on the courtyard gathered for a ribbon cutting. Middle school students sang and performed in the band, marking the first outdoor concert at the school. Some spectators watched the performance from the benches built into the courtyard, and others plopped down on the turf.

Superintendent Shane Hotchkiss lauded the work of Hanover Architectural Products and other businesses that donated to the project.

“I can’t thank you enough for your generosity,” Hotchkiss said.

The road to Tuesday’s celebration was long. When the district committed to building a new middle school, Hotchkiss said it sought input from staff and students. Both groups expressed a desire for an outdoor educational space like the courtyard.

As the district prepared to go out to bid for the new school, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Costs soared, Hotchkiss said, and the courtyard was put on hold.

Hotchkiss later reached out to Hanover Architectural Products, knowing the company had a reputation for generosity. He said the company first offered to donate pavers, then when funds appeared to run short, it threw in a free installation, too. 

Other community and business donations totaled around $37,000 more, including contributions from AquaPhoenix Scientific, Lobar Inc. and Crabtree. Hotchkiss estimated the district devoted about $8,000 of its own money to the courtyard.

Students began using the courtyard a few months ago, he said, and they are big fans. 

“They love it,” Principal Jennifer Shelley said. “This is such a peaceful, calm area.”

She described plans to add tables for teachers to use for holding class outside, and possibly adding flower beds.

Hotchkiss said he’s seen children reading, writing, and drawing in the new space. The courtyard is beside the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) area of the building. 

Huntington, recalling his own education at Bermudian, said it’s a fitting location.

Garage-style doors were open Tuesday to let in the spring air. Dozens of people gathered in the courtyard applauded as Shelley and Repasky cut a red ribbon with a giant pair of scissors.

Hotchkiss presented Repasky and Huntington with a framed aerial photo of the courtyard. Students had penned notes of gratitude around the image.

Repasky said seeing children using the courtyard is the reward.

“This is the best part,” Huntington said.

Aerial view of courtyard [Bermudian Springs School District]

The Bermudian Springs Middle School band council performs at the courtyard ribbon cutting ceremony May 9.

Guests watch the Bermudian Springs Middle School band council perform at the courtyard ribbon cutting ceremony.

Guests enjoy the new courtyard at Bermudian Springs Middle School.

Bermudian Springs Middle School Principal Jennifer Shelley and Hanover Architectural Products President Kevin Repasky cut the ribbon for the new courtyard, surrounded by school officials and supporters.

Superintendent Shane Hotchkiss speaks with Kevin Repasky, center, and designer Alex Huntington of Hanover Architectural Products. Repasky is holding a framed drone photo of the courtyard they designed and built.

Superintendent Shane Hotchkiss speaks with Kevin Repasky, center, and designer Alex Huntington of Hanover Architectural Products as two children play in the courtyard.

MG Kauffman 1

Mary Grace Kauffman, freelance reporter, worked six years as a full-time reporter for newspapers in Pennsylvania and Maryland. She has covered topics including business, crime, education, government and features. Mary Grace has a bachelor's degree in communication/journalism from Shippensburg University. She resides in Adams County.

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