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Northwest ISD Outdoor Learning Center

Reimagining the classroom as outside the boundaries of wall, brick, and mortar

Northlake, Texas

Through field trips and overnight camps, outdoor education has long been an area where educators have introduced the sciences to students at an early age – but providing this opportunity for students in a rapidly growing district can be a challenge.

Due to the rising cost of outsourcing its outdoor education, Northwest Independent School District decided to invest in rehabilitating an abandoned ranch to create a district-wide outdoor learning campus that can serve up to 650 students per day. Located right in the heart of the district, the 193-acre site comprises four distinct ecological zones, each one offering endless learning opportunities in a stimulating and motivating outdoor setting.

New facilities include the Great Hall, which serves as the main campus entry point and features a wraparound deck for viewing the natural surroundings, a full catering kitchen, and a large indoor/outdoor fireplace that visitors can enjoy during the cooler months. The campus also has several designed trails to experience the different ecological zones, with three learning pavilions located at significant trail intersections. The Great Hall and pavilions all have WiFi capability.

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