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Mural builds community at Miller Park

Staff, teachers, friends and family working on 56-foot-long mural at Coquitlam school
Miller Park mural
Grade 5 students Davinia Abed (front), Jenna Dalton and Ben Stait (back) paint the mural at Miller Park Park elementary school in Coquitlam.

Miller Park elementary's courtyard and garden are a little more colourful this week with the addition of a 56-foot-long mural painted by students, staff and members of the community.
Principal Lisa Rinke said the project was designed as a way to brighten up the space and bring the Coquitlam school's 300-member community together, including police liaison officers, custodians and administrators.

"We really wanted a year-round outdoor classroom," explained Rinke, who said the school hired Lauren Albrice to teach the students how to paint and then design a mural around local themes.
Albrice told The Tri-City News she took her ideas from the environment, and wanted to highlight the local mountains as well as wildflowers and natural areas.

Grade 1/2 teacher Celeste Audette, who has worked at the school for a number of years, said children love going out to the courtyard, with its natural bark mulch, community planters filled with herbs and a sandbox built by School District 43 maintenance workers.

"It's just to inspire the students," she said, noting that over the years, benches have been added, along with a shed for tools, and several large trees give the area much-needed shade during warmer months. "We want to create a calm and peaceful place for the kids to come and relax."

Meanwhile, the mural is taking shape, with colourful daisies, irises and lupins being painted by students and other members of the community.

Next door at Sir Frederick Banting middle school, plans are in the works to build a replacement because the original 50-year-old school doesn't meet seismic requirements. Seismic upgrades were completed at Miller Park six years ago.

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