Overall this year has been very successful! In the fall I learned that I would have a grant from the Gonick family to recreate the space. Although it was challenging, it was very fruitful and I learned a great deal. I made multiple proposals of the space and had to compromise in some areas. Originally, I was planning on putting decking in the space, but that was not an option because of how much it would cost. So, as an alternative, I decided to put stone in the two corners and rock in the other two. This works well with the space making it look cohesive. Last week, we celebrated the opening and dedication of the space. It was a beautiful ceremony and the weather was amazing. I am SO HAPPY with the way the space turned out and students are already using it to their advantage.
Thank you Communications for all of the photos from the events!
Kuo, F. E., & Faber Taylor, A. (2004). A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence From a National Study. American Journal of Public Health, 94(9), 1580–1586.
Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-deficit Disorder. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin of Chapel Hill, 2005. Print.
Kaplan, Rachel, Stephen Kaplan, and Ryan L. Ryan. With People in Mind Design and Management of Everyday Nature. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1998.
Roberts, Gretchen. "Planning Your Outdoor Space." HGTV. Accessed November 2, 2015.
Once the ivy and trees were removed the space lost a lot of its life. But, removing these pieces were vital in making the space more comfortable. In order to bring that sense of life back into the space I met with Dan Miller, Emma Willard's plant guru who works in facilities, and we talked about ways we can bring life into the space and dimension through plants. We also talked about the long term and the short term. As of right now, I am focusing on making the space look the best it can for May 19. In order to do this, I have made a Pinterest Inspiration Board [pin.it/hZCrgEc]. I shared these ideas with Dan Miller. Within this next week he is going to go to the greenhouse the school uses and see what they have so I we can achieve the goal of making the space more lively and colorful. And then after he has checked it out and has an idea, he will bring me to the greenhouse to pick out what I would like to have in the space. My goal is to add dimension to the space by filling the planters with plants of all sizes and textures. I also hope to add color into the space by picking out flowers that are similar to jewel tones in order to match the planters that we bought. Stay tuned to see the space come together!
Last Friday, April 28th, I threw what I like to call a Furniture Putting Together Party (say that five times fast). All of the furniture that I ordered arrived and this was the time that we used to put it together as a community. About 20 people came, (shoutout to Anna, Sharde, Lizzie, Katie, Bella, Sam, Liz, Izzy, Kiran, Mrs. Schupack, Heather, Jorryn, Claire, Liv, Angella, Morgan, Christina, Vangie, Ms. Prout, Ms, Friel, Gemma and Adeline for coming to help out! Adeline was our furniture tester, making sure that all of the pieces were secure and ready for people to sit on. We ordered pizza from Defazio's (aka best pizza ever and thanks Development!) and played some nice summery jams and put together furniture. The weather was amazing so we put the furniture together in the space which helped integrate some of the community into the space as well as have them be a part of the transformation. I also found that this party brought together people who are not that close and worked together on putting this furniture together. This was an amazing moment to observe because it just gave me a preview on how the space can bring together people from all grades, faculty and even parents, illustrating the magical appeal and comfort the space brings. By the end of the evening we were able to put together all of the furniture except for one piece that was damaged in the mail. So, the party went extremely well and I took away something that I wasn't expecting--a pleasant surprise. (see images from party below)
Before I left for spring break my goal was to find and hire a contractor to replace the ivy with an alternative option in order to make the space more convenient. At first, I was planning on doing this by replacing the ivy with decking so students could have places to sit and so we could put some furniture on the decks to make the space cozy. I contacted a contractor and he came out and gave us some options and then gave us a quote. This quote was NOT at all what we expected because the decking would have to be custom made and the labor cost more because the space is technically inside of a building. This made me a little panicked at first because I was concerned about my original plan, but after sitting down and talking to some Mrs. Archambault, Ms. Durivage, Ms. Friel and Mr. McCorkle we came up with an alternative to the decking. A stone patio. We determined that this patio would look even better than the decking option and would integrate better into the space. Who knew the ground could be so hard!
So, now the plan is to put a patio where the deck was originally going to be and in the corners that do not have a patio, there will be gravel and stepping stones. In order to prepare for the patio, we removed all of the trees. In the future I hope we will be able to put in tree because the trees that we had were very unhealthy and were practically dying. To compensate for the loss of trees I am planning on putting a large amount of flowers and plants to make the space outdoorsy, lively and colorful! Hopefully, the weather will get better and construction can start soon. Stay tuned and peak into the space when you get a chance!
Katie Archambault, Director of Research at Emma Willard School from Oak Ridge, TN
1. What do you hope to envision in the Signature Space?
I think I would love to see the same kind of activities of the library mirrored in the outdoor space. Community gathering space. Similar to goal of the library--people reading, relaxing and such outside.
2. What programming can you do in the space to attract attention? Events?
In the future I would love to see new trees planted in the space. For now, it is not at the top of the priority list but it is on the list of things that I would like to see change. Now, keep in mind that is a long list! I really like the trees that are currently in the space, but some of the ivy has krept up onto to the trunk and branches. Also, some of the trees don't look as healthy a some of the other ones and I think this is due to the amount of sunlight the space covers. Sunlight is not a factor that is controlable, but this could be kept into consideration when looking at trees in the future.
I was curious what the process would be if we were to get new trees and it would include getting a sapling and growing the tree from there. And the bigger the tree the more expensive. Getting trees that could replace the trees that are currently in the space would be a large investment either in terms of monetary fund or time. Also, the trees that are in the space are perfectly fine with the exception of the ivy and and how healthy they could be. But, nature will just do its thing and when it is time for the trees to be replaces we can revisit the ideas of replacing the trees.
If I could choose a tree to go in the space, I would like there to be some Paper Birch Trees (see image below). These trees could brighten the space because of the color of their bark and their green leaves.
Utility versus beauty has been an overlaying theme when recreating and designing this space. Utility can be define as the state of being beneficial and useful while the definition of beauty can be a combination of qualitie that pleases aesthetic senses. These are the two words that I have had to keep in mind while designing the space. More specifically, in the process of determining what could be put in the space, I have had to consider many factors. These factors include sustainability, maintenance, cost and if it would go well with the theme of the space. In attempts to making the space look unifrom and aesthetically pleasing I decided to go with an Earthy theme with splashes of the school color, red, to make the space look natural with a hint of excitement. The decking (Trex) stain will be an earth color possibly Lava Rock (see image attached). Using this decking is also very sustainable and eco-friendly wich is an added benefit that I definitely wanted to incorporate into the space.