Thursday, March 27, 2008

Family Heritage Remembrance

I've been thinking quite a bit about family over the Easter week and spring break. Having visited my own family cemetery it seemed a good time to share some of the family heritage from our new school site.

This first photo is from the cemetery known as the Edmisten cemetery. There are many heritage family names therein. This marker is from the Ray family. Date Born November 2, 1860.

More recent markers are surrounded by stones from the 19th century in this heritage plot.

The former Hartley cemetery has been interred to the Mount Lawn Memorial Park and Gardens just across the road from our entrance. It is indicated in the overlay on this photo.
You can see the relative location for these heritage plots in the overall view of our campus.
There is so much Watauga family heritage that we proudly carry forward into our new school. The Hartleys, Rays, Edmistens, Greens, Millers, all have a connection to the land. These Watauga families are part of our past and a part of our future.

These two links will take you to interesting articles related to the site and the heritage. The first was written by a former WHS student and genealogist and contains many interesting community connections.

I hope you will appreciate this remembrance with understanding and reflection.

I would be very interested in sharing photos or stories associated with the WHS heritage families on this blog. If you have something to share, please leave a comment for follow up. If the comment link does not work you can email me at

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Water Ways Part 1

Several readers asked where the photo in the previous post (March 14) was taken. It is from the lowest southern point of our campus. This is the flat bottom that is adjacent to the Greenway trail near the Third Bridge.

We have amazing water ways around and through our property. We connect to the South Fork of the New River on the south east side.

The South Fork New River Aquatic Habitat is part of the headwaters of oldest river in North America. It is biologically significant for a cluster of over fifteen rare animal species, including three fishes endemic to the New River drainage. It is noted for high water quality by the N.C. Division
of Water Quality. Species of stoneflies, caddisflies, mayflies, and mussels which are ecological indicators of high water quality are present. It is designated a National Wild and Scenic River, a North Carolina Scenic River, and one of 13 American Heritage Rivers.
This creek follows the south west side and defines the limiting boundary of our developed area in that direction. We will not and have not disturbed this creek and watershed.

Hopefully, we will find it to be a remarkable study area for its riparian habitat, forested watershed, and accessibility for earth science, biology, and ecology class field work. We will protect this area and will not build upon it. However it does have the potential to be a valuable resource area for environmental studies, nature habitat analysis, outdoor recreation in nature, outdoor program group initiatives, organic gardening plats, wildflower, tree, and forest study.

Whatever we put there will have to be above the surface, no footers, retaining walls, etc.

It could be a potential site for an "Alpine Towers" rope course and team initiave structure.

Friday, March 14, 2008

"LEEDing" the Way in Watauga County

Many of you have asked what is LEEDS?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

We are trying to be as "Green" as we can afford to be.
Some would argue that soon we may not be able to afford to not go green!

If you are wondering..... What is a Green School?:

green school /grEn skül / n. a school building or facility that creates a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money
These links will help you understand what we are trying to do in the New Watauga High School to insure quality in work, study, and living conditions in 2010 and beyond.

The specifications and rating scale can be found out this link:

And it is not just a "comfort thing" we are trying to insure a better degree of sustainability and affordable maintenance for the many decades to come that we will use this building.

for an review of the entire LEEDS mission follow this link:

From the beginning we have tried to think of this new school as being more than just a building in which children are taught. We have held to the belief that this building as a structure will also be a teaching tool. Hopefully our new school will teach our students, our community, and generations beyond about the importance of planning ahead for healthy, sustainable, and inspiring public and private structures.

I truly believe our students will begin to think about many of these notions when they are building their own homes.

(Yes, it is hard to imagine your 10 year old someday building and owning their own home! ;-)

For a look at some of the "green" notions for private homes follow this link:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bids Being Received

Hello folks,

This is a milestone week in our project!

Our construction management team is receiving bids Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week! Each day at 2:00 in the County Courthouse Administration building contractors are being reviewed. It is time to hear from the builders!

As you know, the bids for the concrete and footers have been accepted earlier this year. We hope the concrete foundations will begin to be poured around first of April!

As for structural steel (the steel package has also been accepted and steel is being manufactured to specifications now)- steel deliveries will begin mid to late May.

The actual columns will not be erected until late May or early June. (With the amount of steel in this project it will take the steel erector several days or weeks to sort everything out.)

Once all the steel is on site we will begin to

From that point on, you will see noticable progress on a daily basis.

How exciting is that!~~~ sw

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Commissioners Discuss Funding Choices

One of the things that has continued to impress me is the well researched financial planning that has gone into this project. I find it encouraging to see what a community can do when working together for the future.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

February Fly-over and Site Layout

This is the most recent aerial view of our campus. This photo was taken in a flyover by Barnhill/Vannoy on February 29, 2008. The Site plan shown is from SFLA, our Design and architect team. It is from July 2007. Some minor feature changes have occured on the site since this drawing, but it is very close to the final layout.

Perhaps you will be able to better understand the building pad grade as it now shows in the new aerial photo. I have tried to roughly align the two drawings for comparision. The angle of the photo and the parallax view are not the same in both images.