Answers to Campus Plan Questions
What specific plans do you have for making sure that the faculty and the broader community of parents and students and alumni can share their ideas and feedback, and how will they be involved in this next stage of construction? What is the time frame on this?
A faculty/staff communications committee has been created and the details will be announced to the faculty during post-planning meetings in May. Additionally, a community advisory council is being created that includes representatives from all our stakeholders: parents, faculty/staff, current students, camp, alumni, and former parents/grandparents. Details and timing for this committee roll-out are quickly being determined and will be announced.
Are you planning on coming up with an alternative solution to the road going through the Upper Meadow, because a ‘blocked off’ road through the Upper Meadow does not really seem to be any different than a ‘blocked off’ road through the Lower Meadow?
The road is one of the key aspects of the larger construction project that is being re-considered with community input. Questions such as this are important to consider.
Will the animals be able to wander the meadow like they always have when this new environment is complete?
Yes, they will absolutely be able to wander the meadow like they always have when this new area is complete.
Could you explain in more detail where the specific funding for current building plans and any future plans is coming from? How much is already raised? How much will need to be raised – by HM families or outside benefactors? How much will be borrowed?
Prior to the point at which we had decided to pause the plans to complete phase two of the project (the campus drive and two academic buildings), we had raised almost $1 million toward a $1.5 million goal, which was pledged by a small number of donors (parents, alumni parents, and trustees). Our ten-year financial plan took into account borrowing about $4 million, which would yield an annual debt service payment that is similar to the one we are currently paying on a $4 million, 20-year bond for the construction of the early and elementary years buildings back in 2000.
We are only committing to the completion of phase one at this time (the pony barn and animal community, new parking areas, and detention pond expansion and maintenance), with future phases on hold until we reassess priorities with our community. We don’t know at this point what the final cost will be or how much we will ultimately borrow but are amending that information as the project plan progresses. We will share the full financial impact on the community once it is finalized in the next couple of months.
In your May 14th letter, the following statement was made in reference to the Arborist’s findings
“The arborist felt that purposeful replanting could do a lot more for our goals and for the environment than trying to save what is there now. Steve Rowe, our civil engineer who is also a landscape architect, agreed with the arborist’s evaluation and recommendations. Therefore, given what we have learned and the professional advice that we have received, we are going to remove most of the remaining trees within the animal care facilities area. We have already set aside several large, healthy cut trees that we will be milling for use for various campus features and projects, and we intend to set aside more as we go. Looking to the future, we are planning to re-plant our campus with a beautiful, sustainable native landscape to utilize for teaching as well as attracting wildlife. All efforts will be made to keep High Meadows green and a natural, unique outdoor campus for our students. For starters, the areas surrounding the animal facilities, such as the area adjacent to the new “super senior” camp castles, will be replanted mostly with hardy, sustainable, native hardwoods.”
The renderings and estimated timelines in the letter (and previous letters) were helpful to allow the community members to visualize the project that lies ahead for the campus. Can you provide similar timelines and renderings for the replanting plans?
Replanting of Phase 1 areas is on the agenda for our regularly scheduled construction meeting next Thursday with the civil engineer, architect, and contractor. Our architect and/or civil engineer should be able to provide us with revised drawings or renderings, but it will take some time after that meeting. The full replanting timeline is uncertain at this point, but we will provide updates on the construction page as they become available.
What experts were consulted regarding what type of facilities were needed for our animals, including how large the barn needed to be, whether or not we needed double paned windows, and the size and construction of the riding ring, which is not a “training facility” but a place for our youngest students and campers to ride ponies?
During the planning phase of this project, a city arborist and our civil/landscape engineer visited the property to identify/count specimen trees to include in the tree replacement plan required by the City of Roswell. The original plan documents did not include any existing trees in the riding ring or paddock area due to the land disturbance needed to grade the area for the safety of the horses and students as well as preparation for the HoofGrid system. We have always intended to replant several hardwood trees in the paddock area for shade. The trees in question now were originally scheduled to be removed as part of the initial tree cutting. However, there was a change in the layout of the animal area initiated by the city. During their review of the submitted plans, the City of Roswell originally missed a zoning code requiring us to move the barn location from 80 feet from the property line to 130 feet away from the property line. This changed the overall layout of the animal area. At that point, we paused removing any further trees until a new layout was completed and the full LDP permit was approved by the city. It was at that time that we engaged a certified arborist to determine which trees could safely be left within the affected area. This visit happened last Friday.
The animal care area was a collaboration of several individuals including facilities, operations, and animal care. Each brought a unique perspective to the table. Nanci Levine, our Animal Care Manager, has over 30 years’ experience. She researched many options and consulted with operators of local equestrian facilities and other animal professionals. She and I spoke to several barn and other animal structure builders to express our needs and asked for their recommendations. We included as many windows (not double paned) in the barn to help save on energy usage including clear panels in the roof. We selected to install the HoofGrid system in the riding ring and paddock to provide both the ponies and students with a safe, well-drained and non-slip surface which will allow us to give pony rides even after a day of heavy rain.
Will the additional parking adjacent to the community center use a permeable pavement option? What were permeable pavement options considered? If permeable pavement options were ruled out, can you explain why?
The parking stalls are pervious pavers, and the drive areas are asphalt paving. Our civil engineer did not put the pavers everywhere due to concerns of movement in the high traffic drive areas. The pervious pavement type used by the community center was considered, however, our rich Georgia clay soil does not percolate well and this system has proven to not function well with our soil type.
There was an American Chestnut tree planted in the Super Senior woods, the site of construction. This is an endangered species. There was a little fencing around the tree. I’m curious, was this tree preserved?
We were made aware of the American Chestnut tree prior to the start of construction. Our facilities team transplanted the tree to the area next to the new super senior castles.
May 21, 2018
Thank you to those who were able to attend our two previous HMS community forums regarding the construction project. These discussions are helpful and insightful as we continue our path forward. Here are links to the notes from the meetings held April 9 and April 30. These are structured by topic for ease of reading by theme.
Click here to read notes from April 9.
Click here to read notes from April 30.
May 14, 2018
We are excited that the work on our new animal care facility and parking area will be completed in short order, to the benefit of our children, animals, and animal caretakers. We’d like to take some time to provide you with additional information about what you can expect to see once the work is complete. Additionally, we are sharing details about construction, engineering, and the reasons behind the decisions we are making as the project moves forward.
Please read the letter by clicking here.
May 7, 2018
Dear Members of the High Meadows Community,
As leaders of school and camp, we are charged with being the stewards of a place that is like no other. Our stewardship is about preserving the heart and soul of High Meadows as much as it is about sustaining and growing it toward a brilliant future. In executing those responsibilities, we make tough decisions, always in the spirit of love for the school. We act with the belief in the powerful impact that High Meadows has made on the children of our past and those on campus today, and will make on the children of tomorrow.
That is why, after careful consideration, we have decided to slow the schedule for the next phases of construction. We will be completing the current phase, which consists of:
– the pony barn and surrounding paddock and small animal areas;
– additional parking adjacent to the community center;
– the basketball court located in the former riding ring space;
– the expanded detention pond near the community center; and
– maintenance of the existing detention pond at the back corner of the early years building.
More detail on each of these will follow soon on the web page. Please click here to read the entire letter.
April 30, 2018
The High Meadows trustees wrote and read the following letter to the community at today’s Community Forum that addresses many aspects of the project and where we are heading. Please click here to read.
April 16, 2018
Here are the latest drawings of the new pony barn. Little Moon, Sir Bentley, Koda, and Bella Luna will be excited to move in once it’s completed this summer! The representation of the enclosure (outdoor space) is not exact but this gives us a general idea of what to expect for the building.
April 13, 2018
Active construction will begin on Monday morning in the detention pond area on the south side of campus. Attached is an overhead view with markers to show both the current and after grading circumference of the detention pond. Please see below for construction steps anticipated over the next 2-3 weeks:
South Side Detention Pond
The following is a description of size changes from the civil engineer – The existing pond has roughly 3.5:1 slopes with an existing volume capacity of 16,853 cubic feet. The new pond will have 3:1 slopes with a new volume capacity of 57,715 cubic feet. The extra volume was needed for the improvements throughout the site. The extra volume is achieved by expanding the pond bottom approximately 80 feet +/- to the west and 50 feet +/- to the north. The existing dam will (for the most part) remain in the same location. If weather cooperates, this should be completed by the end of next week or sooner.
Student info: Most of this work will be grading and digging and probably not hugely visible for students. However, the math involved in the size increase might be an interesting way to get students involved in why the design is what it is, and even predicting the end result.
Storm Water Lines
- Continuing the work done over spring break, they will connect the new pipe run under the parking lot (see attached photo) to the detention pond by digging a trench, installing new storm water pipe and backfilling the trench between the community center parking lot/road and the detention pond. (Early next week)
- Once the pond grading is complete, they will move north into the meadow. Digging a trench, installing new storm water pipe and backfilling the trench across the lower meadow. The disturbed ground will be seeded and covered with straw. This could be started as early as next Thursday.
Student Info: Students will see the pipe going in through the meadow. Fair warning and explanation would be helpful, especially noting that the meadow will be reseeded and repaired after the work is complete.
Gravel Turnaround for Carpool
Will start once #1 and #2 above are complete.
- Next, they will install a 80’ X 70’ gravel pad to be used as a temporary turnaround for carpool at the top of the lower meadow near the existing drive.
- They will also be widening the existing drive coming from the back parking lot through the existing carpool gate to accommodate 2-way traffic (below photo). This will be accomplished by using fill dirt to level the ground next to the existing road and installing gravel on top.
Student Info: A thorough explanation of the logistics of the new carpool process will be necessary for all 4th – 8th grade students and families. This information will be shared prior to the carpool changes. Emphasize to students that this gravel pad is temporary – through the life of the construction and that the gravel will be removed and grass replanted to restore the meadow once the project is complete.
The meadow will be open for P.E. and meadow time until they start #2b above (could be as early as next Thursday). This will not affect any of the Earth Day activities in the labyrinth. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
April 9, 2018
From time to time, there are specific comments or rumors we hear around campus that we think it’s important to clarify immediately, even before our next community meeting. Here are two points:
- The tire swing and chicken tree are not going anywhere, nor will they be impacted by construction.
- Eighth Grade Recognition will occur on campus. We are working on the details and will let you know more about that soon.
February 12, 2018
On Feb. 6th, we welcomed more than 80 members of the High Meadows community for the semi-annual Board of Trustees Report when we shared news about major strategic initiatives in which the board, administration, and faculty have been engaged. Because the report contained exciting and timely news about the future of High Meadows, we wanted to share the video for those of you who were unable to join us.
A large portion of the report was about our new “Creating the Future” campus campaign, which introduces physical additions and improvements to our campus that will have a profound, transformational impact on our children and our academic and camp programs, both immediately and upon the completion of the project in August of 2019.
Read more and view the video here:https://conta.cc/2Ezxd1M
February 1, 2018
- A beautiful Pony Barn, which will include proper stalls, storage, and an enclosed educational space;
- New pens for our sheep and goats and hutches for our chickens and bunnies;
- A riding ring and fenced outdoor space for roaming.