South Knoll Elementary dedicates new outdoor classroom to fallen soldier

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX)- After three years of designing, cutting, sanding and building, the new outdoor classroom located at South Knoll Elementary school is officially finished.

The idea was from the PTO of South Knoll, but the brains and labor behind the project was completed by Texas A&M graduate, Alexander Santos.

"The whole project took 3 years, from start to finish, and a whole lot of help," said Santos.

The architect and former student built the 13,500-square-foot outdoor classroom with help from volunteers.

"It probably cost about $250,000 just worth of materials and manpower, but all of it was donations from companies, businesses, neighbors, students and everyone in between," said Santos.

After years of working on the project, and thousands of dollars worth of donations which included the materials and labor, the school dedicated their outdoor classroom after Santos' brother, Jeremiah Santos, an Army corporal who died serving in Iraq.

"When they asked the principal if they could name the outdoor classroom after my brother, I just thought it was the coolest thing," said Santos.

The outdoor classroom includes a plaque with Jeremiah's name and the list of donors who helped make Alex's dream a reality.

"I don't care if the students even know who my brother is, all I care about is that they'll be saying 'Jeremiah Forest', for hundreds, at least a 150 years, because, that is what I put the life on the structure at, and so, it's so cool that they'll do that and honor him and they'll know and he'll have his name echoed," said Santos.

The outdoor classroom has been open since the fall, and students, faculty, and staff from South Knolls Elementary said that their new addition has inspired the students to think outside the box.