Forest Hill & Hickory Elementary Rain Gardens
Construction of the rain gardens at Forest Hill and Hickory elementary schools in Harford County, Md., was a community effort. The project started as a means to improving water quality, a requirement of the county’s municipal separate storm sewers system permit. In the end, the project supplied water quality management to 1.6 acres of the county.
Designers at Century Eng. and Biohabitats decided to work at the schools, as it would provide an educational opportunity for local students. Angler Environmental was the contractor at Forest Hill, and Greene Construction was the contractor at Hickory. Construction began in August 2009, completing in July 2011.
The project manager, Christine Buckley of Harford County Public Works, said the location itself posed the most challenges. Construction intentionally was planned during the school day so the children could see the work being done. Workers’ cars and equipment had to be parked on an adjoining lot, and onsite storage space was limited. Being a school environment, the project team also had to coordinate work around bus and pickup schedules.
These “obstacles,” however, were helpful in keeping the children safe—a top priority at all times—and project planners kept students interacting with the project through every phase. Once construction was complete, they got a chance to help plant the gardens.
“This project was truly an achievement in partnering between government, school administration and the students,” Buckley said.