Shed sweet shed
PHS junior designs, builds garden shed for Talent Elementary
TALENT – Julius Bolstad still remembers running around Talent Elementary School – the playground, the football/soccer field, the garden and yes, that ugly, rotting blue shed that sat in a lonely corner on the south end of campus.
Bolstad knew even before moving on to Talent Middle School and later Phoenix High that TES was in dire need of a replacement shed, so when it came time to fulfill a critical requirement toward the Eagle Scout rank he’s chasing down, it wasn’t hard to come up with a project that would benefit the community.
Earlier this week Bolstad put the finishing touches on Talent Elementary’s new garden shed, a 10-foot by 12-foot wood-framed marigold structure with a green metal roof that would have cost about $3,000 in materials alone had the 16-year-old PHS junior not convinced local businesses to donate to the project. He built the shed himself over the last six months, drilling in a plaque that lists the donors on Tuesday afternoon.
“It felt good to check it off. I’m glad that the (students and teachers) can actually use it now and store their tools in it,” he said. “I think it’ll be good. Everything’s over here, it’s in the garden, it’s more accessible and it’s just better for the garden and everyone who uses the garden.”
The new shed is in a much better location than the previous shed, only a few feet away from the garden. Bolstad, 16, is particularly proud of the built-in shelf he built along the back wall. It also includes a ramp for wheelbarrows and slots along the walls to store tools. He said his family and friends, especially scout leaders and other members of Troop 10, helped him on the project, which was supported by donations from Home Depot, Norton Lumber, Richard and Dawn Watson, the Talent Garden Club, Ashland Lumber, Ric Brewster and the Talent Community Garden.
Talent Elementary Principal Heather Lowe Rogers said Bolstad was the driving force behind the project and required very little oversight.
“I didn’t have to give him any direction at all because he was pretty self-motivated,” she said. “He worked with our garden coordinator, Kristi Rutkai, and just asked her what we needed and the vision for the space.”
Bolstad’s dad, Jackson County Fire District 5 captain Brian Bolstad, said his son has always loved swinging a hammer but needed to stretch his planning skills in order to finish this particular job.
“The community was really supportive and there was a definite need here,” Brian Bolstad said, “so it felt like the project had purpose from the very beginning.”
The fundraising aspect added another layer of difficulty to the project, especially when a nationwide lumber shortage led to skyrocketing prices. Bolstad wasn’t deterred. That wasn’t surprising to his mom, TES kindergarten teacher Kendra Bolstad.
“He’s fortunately been a part of 4-H since …he was 9 years old, so that encourages him to go out and speak to community members and represent himself in a positive manner,” she said. “Because of that, it gave him the …self-confidence to go out and ask about his project, which he was passionate about. He really believed in it …and was excited to support his community and the school that he went to.”
Now, Kendra Bolstad, whose classroom has a garden-facing window, is reminded of her son’s dedication and hard work every time she looks outside.
“I love it,” she said. “Every day I get to look out and see that my son contributed to something that should be here as long as it wants to be here for the school district to use and for the school to use, and the students and the community. So, it’s a lot of honor and pride that my son was able to give back to his community.”
For interview requests, please contact Phoenix-Talent SD communications specialist Joe Zavala at firstname.lastname@example.org.