Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009

Happy New Year to all!
May this year encourage you.
Has it been windy enough for you? I was looking at the webcam and it was bouncing around and dancing in the winds like a bobble head.

Here are a few pictures from inside of the school that were made just a few days ago. It was a rainy, cold, blowing rain day that most folks would chose to stay home.
However, I enjoyed seeing the work carry on despite inconvenience.
More than once I stopped to clear my lens.
I found this area and thought it was an interesting feature. Perhaps you might like to guess the location? A clue for frequent readers, it is on the farthest, south facing part of the building......

I also enjoyed contemplating this notion that came up while talking to Mike K. In these conditions our school could be said to be in the
"Frank Lloyd Wright" phase of design.
(BTW, nice reflections)
Wright was noted for bringing elements of nature
from the outside into the inside of the building!
We sure were full of the elements that day, rain, wind, cold. ;-)
By the way, the photos above are the "main commons area".
It is more than the length of a foot ball field.
(FYI, that is one of the main stair wells on the right side of the photo.)
The other architect and designer "Frank" we might mention is Frank Gehry. Sometimes the contrasting angles and shapes and forms remind me of his work.
I will try to get some new photos up soon, once school starts back and things settle down again.
Hope you enjoyed the last look at our school for this year.

In just a few minutes, it will be true that
next year we will move into our new school :-)
Check the time stamp below :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's Going on Here?

I was watching the webcam yesterday and noticed a sequence of men and machines repeating a process over and over again. They progressed from the left of the screen to the middle right. This is the standard "home" view you will see from the webcam.

When I zoomed in to study it I was able to figure this process out. The photo quality is not as great as usual, but, it was a rainy day and the camera shield was wet. But, still I am impressed with the quality of the zoom images. How Cool!

The process begins on the first machine on the left. You will notice the roll on a spoll. I thought it was paper, or something soft and pliable. But it is sheet metal! In this photo above you can see it is being fed into the machine as a flat continuous sheet. This machine edges, shapes, and cuts the standing seam roof sections for our radial (curved) roof.

On the other end, a worker removes the length of metal which is now folded on two sides and cut into 10-24 ft sections. The standing seam is J -curved and locks over the matching edge on each adjacent sheet.

It is then fed into the next machine which is a "Bending machine". This machine puts the appropriate degree of curvature to the length in the overall piece of metal so it will fit properly on our radial roof section.

Each piece is then placed in an ordered and standing storage bin and kept ready for installation once the roofing under layers are completed. Every piece of our roof is being fabricated to specifications on site.

There are many, many pieces to be installed. Notice that you are seeing the "white" underside of the standing roof sections. The top finish of these panels is charcoal gray. You can see that color in the second photo as the metal comes off of the roll. Or look at the finished sections of the actual roof over the gyms in the center of the home view.

So, you never know what you can learn by spending a few minutes looking at the webcam! You can check out the view via the live webcam if you....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December 10 and 54 Days Ahead of Schedule

We are still impressed with the progress the construction teams are making on our building and site. We are entering winter which is typically a slow down period with a gain of 54 days. That is great news!

A few new attributes can be noted from the entrance drive that are noteworthy.

The photo above shows the columns that will line the front covered sidewalk into the main lobby. These are the core forms and the masonry treatment will follow. This is on the northwest side of the building. The driveway will be immediately in front of this portico. Parents may drop off students along this stretch.
The curved roof is still an amazing feature. These three levels are on the south end. On the right the highest curve is the main gym, the middle level is the auxiliary gym, and the lowest is the wrestling room. The small area in front is an equipment storage room for PE. I love the aesthetic continuity of the roof lines and shapes.
Notice the offset in the roof edge along Area 3. It adds an interesting visual attribute to the roof line. This feature is an accommodation to the building codes for the Town of Boone. We have conplied to those standards in our building design in many ways. This attribute insures variation along continuous lengths of roof. There are accommodations on the variety of color in the exterior masonry surfaces as well.
Notice there are some windows in Area 3 now. That is a milestone. Once windows are in then interior finish work can begin. At this point the steel framing you can see in the top right window awaits drywall and finish work. Soon, Area 3 will be ready for walls!

This is a stitched together view of the main building from our driveway entrance. I have posted this in a large image so when you click to enlarge, you may look around inside of the building. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

November Aerial Photographs

Sky Site Aerials made the fly over on November 23. That was just before Thanksgiving. I have put a photo at the end of this post that references the locations of some of the Edmisten farm features.

In the photo above we are looking at campus from the south end. You can clearly see the two athletic fields, the softball and baseball, parking and main entrance at the top center, 12:00 high. This is a good view of the entire campus.

For a photo of this view from the 1950's Scroll down about four postings.

or simply click here

This view is approaching our campus from the West. The plane was flying from the Boone airport on Bamboo in the direction of Deep Gap. It was a chilly winter over Thanksgiving. The blues and whites of the season cool the photo and the earth below.

OK, below is the same view, zoomed in a bit so you can study details. Notice the three classroom wings. They are oriented East to West. That way the class rooms receive the most beneficial lighting, North/South light.

If you click on the image to enlarge it you will see our masonry work and the finished roofing color on the short wing on the left. The other two wings are in development at a different pace. The building process has been counter clockwise (3,2,1,6,5,4). You can also clearly see the triangular Commons area located behind the radial roof. The wing on the left is Area 3, Area 2 is in the middle, and Area 1 is the right wing. They are all three stories or levels. Areas 4,5,6 are on the front levels two and three.

In the zoom above you can see the kitchen area and the loading docks designed for supply delivery. A truck will be able to circumnavigate around the building and back into the loading dock with all kinds of supplies from food to paper and equipment.
This photo is also revealing for the variety of subsurface materials that are used on our walls and roof. In fact you can view in this photo everything from footers to steel, to block to insulation board to masonry to roof decking, under layers, insulation, surface layer and finish metal. There is a lot to be learned about construction in this photo.

Over Thanksgiving break I posted a series of stories about the Edmisten farm. I have annotated a relationship to the log house, the barn, and Baker Edmonton's brick house.
If you missed the stories you can follow these links:
You can scroll down to view the earlier posts or follow these links ~ sw

">All aerial photo graphs are provided by

SkySite Aerial Photographs.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Webcam ~ Rainy Night Capture

A little FUN on a Rainy Night in November with the Webcam.

These are based on "captured" images from our webcam.

You too can check out the view via the live webcam.
(It may not be rainy or night time now, but this is the same view you will see in real time.)
Where are you?
How did you come to be here?
What are you going to learn from this opportunity?

You are viewing the main level, directly across from front entrance, and the orange area is entering wing 2, level 2.

If you enter down this hallway in the center of the photo. Cosmetology studio will be on your left, Special ed area classrooms, some academic classrooms would be on the right.

This area is adjacent to the elevator for our special needs students, our community, and elders, and just off the center of school, beside the special needs rooms, the lobby, student services, and the main entrance.

It's all where it was supposed to be. Now we will have to learn how to get around in our new high school!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Joe Remembers the Farm ~ Part 4 ~ Thanks Given

Dear Readers,

This is the fourth and final installment of "Joe Remembers the Farm". I had the opportunity to visit with Joe Edmisten and listen and learn of the heritage of our land that was his family farm in Perkinsville Valley before it became our new campus. I hope you have enjoyed reading his words and learning from his stories.

There is similar knowledge and a wealth of stories from within all of our families. But the ways of the past as practiced in these mountains is fading from elders memories. I do hope if nothing else comes of this sharing that we all will take the time to ask an elder to tell us their stories.

And it is in this spirit I have titled this series of posts : "Thanks Given"


In summer, we hoed the corn, cabbage, tobacco, and potato crops three times before they were "laid by." We cultivated between the rows, leaving the weeds in the rows with the crop plants. These we removed with hoes. We hoed three rows at a time and sometimes, four or five, if Hill Bumgarner and/or Dillard Idle happened to be working for Daddy. Although we generally started at the same place, because of our differing skills, we would end up at different points all over the field. I was usually left behind, and Dillard, always finishing his row first, would hoe back to me to help me out.

When all the crops and the two gardens were "clean," we would be allowed to go fishing at two favorite holes in the New River. The Big Rock had deep water running under and around it. We counted on catching something there within an hour. It might be brown trout, red eye, sucker, large-mouth bass, or even a mud dog.

I had mixed feelings about catching a mud dog, which really is an enormous salamander up to twenty-four inches long. We were told that if one ever bit you, it would not let go until it heard thunder. The scientific name for it is Cryptobranchus alleganiensis. The first part of the name refers to the genus to which it belongs and to the anatomical feature of having hidden (crypto) gills (bronchus). Alleganiensis is the species designation, and, in this case, tells us that this large amphibian was first found in the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania. Out of our ignorance, we would kill these ugly but harmless creatures.

We placed the "good" fish on a hand-made stringer made from a slender birch branch. We inserted the main stem through the fish's gill flap and out through the mouth. We kept the stringer with the water so the fish would live until we walked the mile back home with our fresh catch. We cleaned, scraped, and gutted the fish, making them ready for the frying pan.

The second favorite fishing hole was next to the ruins of the old power dam. Here the water was as deep as eight feet. Even as far back as the 1940s, hardly anyone could remember when the dam was intact and functional. The timbers of the dam are still visible in the water, and the many walkers on the greenway from Boone can stop and see the rock building where the generator was housed and the same timbers that I saw in the 1930s and 1940s.

We cut our own fishing poles and used a single hook with a gob of worms. We never used artificial lures. I remember catching an eight-inch brook trout on such a rig, and, as I was pulling it in, a water snake (Natrix) bit into my trout and didn't let go until I got the fish on the bank.


On one fishing expedition, a panther killed and ate me. David, Paul, Cousin Conley, and I had crossed the steel cable-supported, swinging bridge over the New River to visit the Green family who lived in a house where the sewer plant and dog pound is currently located. The men of the Green family all worked for my momma's daddy, Pa Lige Hollars, in his slaughter house and on his large farm. Mrs Green gave us some cookies and told us to be careful because a large, mean mountain lion, a "painter," had been seen prowling the area. We went back across the swinging bridge and through a potato field to the Big Rock to fish.

Just as we settled in and baited our hooks with earthworms, we heard a loud screaming nearby. We knew that it was the painter, and that he would surely kill and eat us. We panicked and made a mad dash across the potato mounds. I must have been five or six years-old, and the fishing hook and line got caught in my pants. David, Paul, and Conley left me behind and the painter killed and ate me.

At least that is the way I remember it.

(Betty tells me this is Nelle Edmisten atop Howards Knob! )
My family moved out of the log farmhouse when the new brick house was built. Grandma Nan gracefully moved her things into one of the three bedrooms on the ground floor. Baker, Rufus and I slept in the basement bedrooms. By this time, David was in the Navy; Paul, married and in the Air Force; Betty was married; Rufus and Baker were in high school, and I was in college. While I was still in college, I married Margaret, who was already out of college and working for a newspaper in Elkin. Momma and Daddy let us live in the old log farmhouse. Margaret taught history at Beaver Dam, and I continued at ASU, playing football to pay my way. It seemed strange living in the old place where nine people and guests had previously congregated for meals and rest.
Margaret and I had little furniture but lived well. Horses and cattle "mowed" our lawn because there had never been a fence around the place. It took Margaret a long time to get used to the loud clumping sound made by horses and cattle as they ate the grass near the house. We were young and in love so it all seemed like paradise.
One Sunday evening, we convinced Momma and Daddy to go to a movie with us in Blowing Rock. As we were leaving the movie, the manager, who knew us, told us that he had been notified that the old farmhouse was on fire. The nine-mile-drive back to our home took an eternity. We could see the raging inferno from a mile away. It seemed as if all of Perkinsville was there to watch. We had left our dog in the house, but David had kicked in the door to save it. Apparently, an electrical circuit had over-heated. We had left a light on to guide us back up the hill in the darkness. (the old farmhouse is in the back in this photo)
The loss of the old house was devastating, especially to Granny Nan because it had been such an important part of her life, the place where she had delivered eight children. And all this pain and sorrow because we went to a movie on a Sunday!

Now we are saying goodbye to the farm, the site upon which the new Watauga High School will be built, on the same land where we stacked hay and grew cabbage. How can we not be sad? As some sage once said, "more than one thing can be true," so today we rejoice to come together as family to honor and remember our loved ones and our rich mountain heritage.

Our lives have taken different courses. We each have our own histories, all affected by the mountain qualities of our parents--dependability, industriousness, persistence, creativity, loyalty, charity, and love of family.
As for me, I've since been blessed by my twenty-three year marriage to Patricia, who helped me with these sketches of the farm.
Thank you Joe, we have all learned from your sketches. ~
You can scroll down to view the earlier posts or follow these links ~ sw