The GHHS Skills USA Community Service Team has spent the last two years working to raise awareness and support for the project, as well as to raise funds needed to turn the plan into a reality. Students Logan Martinez, Ray Cardenas and Brianna Pautz spent hours of their own time in GHHS teacher Pamela Chaires' class to design the landscape. Students submitted a variety of potential layouts to Rafael Velasco, landscaper and owner of Contemporary Landscape Incorporated. Velasco and his team of landscapers began the renovation in June 2016 and have since brought the final design to life.
The landscape contains drought-resistant plants, artificial turf, decorative rocks, seating areas, a school/community garden, and five agricultural labs to be used to grow fresh produce and to be used in science, math, social science, bakery and culinary courses. Chaires said that the new labs will “enrich the classroom curriculum, develop real-world college and career technical skills and foster relationships among students and the community for a positive cause.”
“We applaud Granite Hills High School and its students for their commitment to conservation,” Liberty Utilities Apple Valley Vice President and General Manager Tony Penna said. “Liberty Utilities was proud to help fund this project along with the Mojave Water Agency, and we hope this will inspire others in the community to consider converting their landscapes to be more water efficient.”
Chaires expressed her gratitude to Mojave Water Agency, Liberty Utilities, Rafael Velasco of Contemporary Landscape and Maintenance Inc., Mark Foster, GHHS Principal Chuck McCall, AVUSD Superintendent Tom Hoegerman, and Assistant Superintendent Matt Schulenberg for their support. “The level of commitment to this project by students, staff, administration and local industry has been overwhelming,” Chaires said. “Granite Hills High School will truly champion water sustainability in our community.”