ROXBURY, NJ - New this year to Roxbury High School is a Structural Design and Fabrication (SDF) course that covers a wide variety of topics including construction, carpentry, architecture and design. Students are putting their knowledge and skills to work here at home in Roxbury.

Over the past few months, SDF students were tasked with transforming an unusable courtyard at Lincoln-Roosevelt School into an instructional space for elementary school students and teachers to use during the school day. This transformation included planning, building and assembling a boardwalk in the outdoor space.

“The new boardwalk was built so that everyone can use the outdoor courtyard at LRS, said Denise Glenn, Roxbury’s Science Supervisor for Grades 6-12. "The SDF class designed the boardwalk/platform to be ADA compliant. This area is a hidden gem that wasn’t really being utilized.

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Glenn presented the project to the SDF crew and it was decided it was something they wanted to do.

“Many of them attended Lincoln-Roosevelt and were excited to give back to the Roxbury School District community,” said SDF Teacher Frank Caccavale.

It took students about two months to go from planning, to building a model, to fabricating and finally assembling the boardwalk at the school. Students practiced safe tool use, had to be knowledgeable of the materials they were using and work as a team to complete the project.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

“SDF students were given the measurements and designed and built a boardwalk for them to utilize," Caccavale said. "SDF students had to develop what the final project would look like and also how they would build it in pieces in the SDF lab at RHS. Students had to be precise with measurements and labeling to ensure everything would fit together when assembled at Lincoln/Roosevelt.”

“By building and installing the boardwalk our students and staff now have an outdoor classroom that is accessible to all," said Glenn. "Classes will be able to go outside and enjoy fresh air, do projects, labs, or just enjoy reading a good book.”

Lincoln-Roosevelt School Principal Chris Argenziano was so impressed with the students’ interest level, work ethic, and attention to detail that he asked them to build planters and flower beds that will also go in this space. Students will begin drawing up plans over the next few months for this aspect of the project.

Glenn added, “Eventually “Our Secret Garden” will have planters filled with a variety of plants. This project really builds upon our wellness and sustainability initiatives. Down the road, we hope to add a Koi pond and add a rain barrel. Not only do students benefit from being outside in “Our Secret Garden”, but it is also beautiful to look at from the inside. For years, students and staff have looked at this space filled with stones, a few tables, and the brick wall, which is not very appealing or welcoming. Now we have an area that will be warm and inviting for all. Just watching the seasons change will be special.”

“Any class may use the area during the school day as well as any content area but my favorite part about the project to date is that it was designed by high schoolers for the LRS students and staff. Many of the young men involved in this project are former students of LRS. They are very invested in giving back to a place that is very special to them. Whether you want a place of quiet reflection, an area to learn, explore, or just breathe some fresh air, our secret garden is an oasis within our schools,” Glenn said.

Members of the SDF program involved in the project included seniors David Cambiotti, Andrew Cangiano, Juan Espinosa, Brody Hageneder, Rowan Luppnow, Adam Reingold and Michael Shackley along with SDF Teacher Frank Caccavale.

You can follow Roxbury High School’s first year of SDF, highlighting the design and building of each project and student growth as a result of this new and exciting learning opportunity, at https://roxwix.wixsite.com/website-12.