The town of Palisade, using CARES Act funding, has purchased three tents for Palisade High School to use for outdoor learning and gathering spaces.

The town ordered three tents last fall and used federal funding for COVID-19 relief to help pay for them, Town Administrator Janet Hawkinson said. They were finally delivered this week and town staff, Palisade Police and Palisade High School staff helped erect the tents Tuesday.

“We knew schools were getting tents for outdoor classrooms so we reached out to the high school to see if they wanted some,” Hawkinson said. “They did request three, so that is part of the CARES Act funding.”

The tents were purchased from WeatherPort, a fabric structure company in Delta. In addition to the tents, the town is providing water bottle fillers and temperature-reading machines to the school.

Palisade High School Principal Dan Bollinger said they had borrowed a tent from the town earlier in the school year, which the kids used to get out of the sun during the warmer weather. He said in addition to outdoor classroom space, the tents will be used to help with social distancing during lunches as well.

“I think it’s really exciting to get kids outside, to take a classroom outside,” Bollinger said. “In the summer and the spring and fall, we can get out of the sun and in the winter get out of the cold as well. The other thing is during lunches, as much as you want to try to socially distance kids by getting them outside, but you can’t because it’s too cold.”

Both Bollinger and Hawkinson said it was nice for the two organizations to be able to collaborate on this project. Bollinger said he had conversations with the town regarding the tents and that the process had been smooth.

The tents will remain with the school going forward, Hawkinson said. CARES Act funding, which was approved by Congress last March, has been used across the valley to fund outdoor classroom spaces.