Volunteers plan for memorial garden at Fergus

Fergus High School Secretary Robin Moline, left, and volunteer contractor Steven Adams, right, hold up an architectural drawing of the memorial garden Wednesday morning.

Photo by Jenny Gessaman

By: 
JENNY GESSAMAN
Reporter

Most people plan summer vacations. Fergus High School Secretary Robin Moline is planning a summer project: Through volunteers and donations, Moline wants to create a memorial garden for FHS staff and students who have passed away since 1986.

Moline said the idea started in late 2015, with the unexpected passing of a long-time staff member.

“When Mr. Rutledge passed away, everybody asked, ‘What can we do?’” she said. “Jean Rogan came up with the idea for picnic tables outside. Then we got to looking at our trees and shrubs by the teacher’s entrance, and they were just overrun.”

That led to an idea, according to Moline. Why not make the space more usuable, while creating a way to remember those Fergus High School has lost? Moline started running the concept of a memorial garden by other people, and it found a warm reception.

“Once the word got out, the class of 86, the year the school was built, got together and raised enough money for cement picnic tables,” she said.

Now the garden’s design includes tables, flower planters, benches and a memorial rock. Steven Adams, a contractor volunteering his time and expertise to the project, said the memorial rock would be created with several facets. Each could display a memorial plaque. In turn, the plaques could be removed if names needed to be added.

One of Moline’s biggest hopes for the garden, however, has to do with what people will walk on.

“Right now, there’s gravel there, which is fine, but my ultimate goal is to put cement there,” she said.

Moline thought cement would be easier to place tables and benches on, and would provide a better surface for activities. The space will still be a garden, though: Moline plans for a line of planters hanging from the wall, and whiskey barrel containers with flowers from Alpine Floral Greenhouse and Nursery will decorate the open space.

The garden will be on the southwest corner of Fergus High School’s main building, and will be open to all, according to Moline.

“I hope the students will be able to enjoy it,” she said. “They can go out there, have lunch, relax and unwind. When it’s nice out, I hope the teachers take their classes outside.”

Adams extended the garden invitation beyond the school’s regulars.

“This is to bring the community up here,” he said. “It’s a nice, peaceful place, and it’s quiet all year.”

Adams’ view, in part, stems from how the garden is being financed.

“This is all going to be done out of donated money and time,” he said.

Moline confirmed the memorial garden project would not use school funds, and said she is continuing to look for resources to complete the project. Although pieces are still falling into place, Moline plans to have the work done before students return.

“I hope to be done by the start of the next school year,” she said.

An architectural sketch of the garden is available for viewing at Fergus High School. To learn more, volunteer or add a name to the memorial list, contact Robin Moline at 406-350-1426 or fancyfingers.RMjams@gmail.com

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