Hanger Hall Relies on WeatherPort Outdoor Classroom Structures During COVID-19

Hanger Hall was founded in Asheville, North Carolina in 1999 with a mission to create an ideal learning environment for middle school-aged girls. Over two decades later, Hanger Hall remains committed to that mission.

Small class sizes mean that students get one-on-one attention, personalized instruction, and the ability to forge strong relationships with each other, their teachers, and themselves. This whole-child approach is key to helping students discover themselves and meet their personal best.

Hanger Hall Head of School Jennifer Schoolfield explains that when they had to go remote in the spring of 2020 because of COVID, the hardest part was maintaining those strong relationships.

As such, being able to safely reopen in the fall was a priority.

Staggering students’ schedules was a key element of making this happen. Hanger Hall split students up into two groups, with each group attending class in person two days a week and no overlap between groups. Wednesdays are virtual for everyone.

Jennifer explains that this way, “If someone were to get sick, we can mitigate the spread.”

But staggering schedules and remote learning were only part of Hanger Hall’s plan for safely reopening. They also knew that holding class outdoors would be the best way to increase airflow and prevent transmission of the disease, which would require finding suitable structures for outdoor classrooms.

The Hanger Hall facilities committee knew that they wanted to use engineered fabric structures rather than off-the-shelf pop-up canopies because they wanted to be able to repurpose them later on for events such as student art festivals, performances, parent conferences, and even a possible graduation ceremony.

The structures would not only save them money on events that they’d otherwise have to rent a space for, but could also be rented out for the many events that take place in the community.

“We thought it was a solid business investment for us,” explained Jennifer.

Their other requirements for the outdoor classroom structures were that they protect the students from the elements while still maintaining optimal airflow and preserving as much of the outdoor features as possible.

After doing a little online research, the Hanger Hall facilities committee discovered WeatherPort.

The facilities team was also impressed with WeatherPort’s customer service right away: “The team was really awesome to work with and appreciated that it was a big investment. Super responsive. Really flexible with us.”

After Hanger Hall settled on WeatherPort for their outdoor classroom structures, the design process began.

The school’s facilities committee worked directly with a WeatherPort building specialist to decide on the right building sizes, features, and customizations. Part of this collaboration included custom branding, which Jennifer says was a “pretty easy process.”

“We played with a couple different options and saw a couple iterations of drawings,” she explained.

Their WeatherPort building specialist also made them aware of timelines so that they could get their order in before an expected rush of other orders. “We feel pretty lucky that we moved forward when we did,” said Jennifer. “It would be a hard decision to be making right now.”

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