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Durham schools install outdoor learning pond for students

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DURHAM, N.C. -

Durham Public Schools is installing a new floating outdoor learning lab for students that was planned and built by students from N.C. State.

Crews began installing the platform Friday morning at pond near Eno Valley Elementary, Carrington Middle and Northern High schools.

Durham public schools students will use it, but it's been a lesson in and of itself for the N.C. State University architecture students who created it.

"This is it for us. This is a really good point for us to go and get jobs," said architecture student Morgan VanHorn.

The students has just 12 weeks to plan and build the floating lab.

The lab is first of its kind in Durham. Students will be able to grow food and explore the environment with the outdoor lab.

The project is part of a more than 60-acre piece of land called the "hub farm." Durham public schools started it up last year after the director of career and technical education learned the school system already owned the land it was not being used.

"I said, ‘Holy mackerel," exclaimed Rick Sheldahl, Career and Technical Education Director for Durham Public Schools. "Anything that engages our students in practical learning where they can see the application of what they're learning. That's what we're all about."

The lab is being built with funds raised from the Durham Doughman race and from a Kickstarter project developed from students of the School of Architecture at N.C. State.

The project is currently underway through Aug. 14.

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