“[Hall Fletcher] is a great school, but an unrecognized one,” says the elementary school's principal Gordon Grant, citing the establishment's 72 percent rate for children on free or reduced lunch as the highest in Asheville. “[But] a school for poor children should look as beautiful and attractive as any school for any child anywhere,” Grant says. His team hopes to engage students of all backgrounds by “bringing the classroom outside” with an Outdoor Learning Center. Project renderings courtesy of Hall Fletcher Elementary

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features Hall Fletcher Elementary school’s outdoor learning space, Roots + Wings School of Art and Design’s expansion onto a new campus and local band The Circus Mutts’ quest to raise funds for a new tour vehicle.

Hemlock trees are disappearing from the Appalachian Mountains due to the non-native invasive species, the hemlock wooly adelgid. The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners agreed unanimously at the May 19 meeting to move forward with a project to preserve the hemlocks from further eradication.

Buncombe Commission­ers approve hemlock preservati­on project

At the Tuesday, May 19 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a project to protect the region’s disappearing hemlock population. They also heard budget requests from Buncombe County Schools, Asheville City Schools, A-B Tech and District Attorney Todd Williams, as well as the proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year — all of which will come to a public hearing at the next regular meeting, on June 2.