The new year opened with eye-popping improvements at the Lower Campus as construction crews made rapid progress on our new arts center and renovated Founder’s Shop.
We’ve installed a new fire sprinkler line, roof shingles, skylights, and gutters. The painters are done inside and out of the building, and the well-worn fir floorboards of the historic shop have been stripped, sanded and refinished.
Meanwhile, tidy box hedges, rosemary, rose bushes and other drought-tolerant species are being planted outside the arts center and neighboring buildings. Elegant high-efficiency LED (and Dark Sky compliant) new light posts are being installed, and new rock curbs and decomposed granite sidewalks have been completed in front of Frost Hall and the west entrance of campus near the stables.
In construction, there are opportunities to make pivotal infrastructure improvements that no one sees because they often happen underground. An example of this is the addition of a new storm drain, installed before the holiday break, which will carry storm runoff from El Paseo Road to the south side of campus. We are hoping this will help alleviate a hundred-year old problem where the campus floods during any major rainstorms.
Another example is a major electrical upgrade that occurred over the break. Crews removed a power pole near the Admission Office and tunneled a network of power lines beneath the east portion of campus, thus establishing a vastly improved electrical system that will support new technology and future building projects.
The fine arts have been a cornerstone of Ojai Valley School’s experience for more than a century, and we are excited to see the progress being made on this new art center and rehabilitated Founder’s Shop.
Originally designed by founder Edward Yeomans, the shop has been the hub and heart of the visual arts program at the Lower Campus for generations. When it began to show its age (after nearly 98 years of use), the school made a firm commitment to preserve and protect its historic features. The shop is now being carefully restored while also being upgraded to serve the needs of future students. In addition to major energy efficiency and structural upgrades, The original floor, windows, battens, and much of the redwood siding from the original building have been preserved and polished to a new luster, bridging the old and the new.
With the support of our families and alumni, we hope to open the arts center and restored woodshop in March 2015.