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First Draft Concepts Meeting

posted Oct 4, 2012, 12:12 AM by FSK Website
The meeting was held in the teacher lunch room at 3:30 pm on Monday, October 1st. The following people attended:
Tamar Barlev, SFUSD
Lori Shelton, SFUSD
Jeff Miller, Miller Company
Aaron Parr, Miller Company
Mr. Wong, FSK Principal
Ms. Ling, FSK Teacher
Ms. Sonny Wong, FSK Teacher
Ms. Mamie Wong, FSK Teacher
Ms. Lida Liu, FSK Teacher
Ms. Cindy Li, FSK Teacher
Melissa Washington, FSK Parent, PTA President
Eric May, FSK Parent, PTA Executive VP
John Cenzano-Fong, FSK Parent
Lorraine Leber, FSK Parent
Heather Copling, FSK Parent

The meeting focused on discussing two alternative conceptial plans. Both plan drawings are available in PDF format for download at the bottom of the greening committee page: http://www.francisscottkeyschool.org/pta/ongoing-programs/green-committee. Note that concepts are drawn to scale.

Both concepts include some elements, namely a set of 4 trees planted in front of the modulars in the space between the track edge and the concrete pad in front of the modulars. The trees are complimented with bench seating to encourage quiet interactions. Benches are situated so that students can face each other to talk or face out towards the yard. The expectation is this can also create a buffer between the yard and modulars for sound and play. Also in both plans, situated between the modulars and the girl's bathroom, but closer to the modulars, there is a circular seating area with a tree in the center and boulder seating around it. The intention is to offer a possible outdoor classroom setting. 

Concept 1's main difference is an education garden near on the west side of the modular building. The garden is fed by a cistern with a hand pump to provide irrigation. The aim of the garden would be more focused on edible plants. There is also a project table and sink to help with food preparation. In order to make space for this garden, the PE shipping container shed is relocated across the yard and nestled with other storage near the yard side exit of the computer lab. Adjacent to the play structure is an outdoor classroom area with curved bench seating area that forms a broken circle with the opening framed by two large boulders. This can function as an outdoor classroom and as another way to interact with nature through the boulders. A row of trees along the fence line extending from the outdoor classroom near the play structure to near the basketball court provide additional natural buffers as well as seating areas for people to interact. 

Concept 2's main difference is the situating, near the play structure, of a large raised bed garden framed by relocated benches. The bench area is also planted with vegetation to soften the boundary with the rest of the yard. Storage remains primarily as it is today. 

Discussions ensued about the merits of all elements of the plan. Mr. Wong had concerned about relocating storage in concept 1 though most people felt it would likely work. The next topic of discussion was regarding the viability of having planting and bench seating in front of the modulars. Ms. Liu was concerned about noise levels of these areas. Ms. Sonny, based on experience with a similar arrangement when attending elementary school in San Jose, confirmed the notion this can create a quiet area. 

The teaching garden area near the modulars was also a concern for Ms. Liu due to noise issues. Lafayette school has a similar area garden area and has worked well according to Miller Company. The area was also chosen because of it being a bit more sheltered while still having good sun exposure. People generally liked the teaching garden area. 

The boulder seating area near the girls bathroom well positioned but having the tree in the middle could lead to visibility issues for security cameras. Some also felt the tree could be an impediment if it was attempted to be used as an outdoor classroom. There was discussion of the usefulness of having more than one outdoor classroom area given the large number of classrooms in the school and demand by teachers for these sorts of areas. 

The raised bed garden near the play structure from concept 2 was liked though there was discussion about what it's use should be in constrast to the teaching garden adjacent to the modulars. There wasn't a clear concensus how it should be used vs. the teaching garden if both were adopted. Some mentioned it could be more focused on native plants and not on edibles and could be more free form and simply a refuge. Others thought if raised beds were utilized, each grade level could claim one and have the number of beds limited to the number of grades. Another thought was to have as many beds as possible so extra beds could also be claimed by afterschool programs. Miller Company believed there could be money to support both gardens. District representatives also suggested pulling up more asphalt may be a good idea since there are few opportunities to do that in the future. It was mentioned that the school can grow into the garden areas over time and that not everything needs to be planted immediately. 

The line of trees along the fence from concept 1 seemed to be liked by at least some participants. The topic of mingling bond money and non-bond money came up and district officials pointed out that things could be phased so that infrastructure is put in but tree cost doesn't necessarily need to come out of the bond budget. Friends of the Urban Forrest will be to puts in the trees and arrangements will be hammered out among involved parties around what, when and where to plan trees. 

Also mentioned were various curriculumn elements mentioned by teachers and ideas that could be incorporated into designs. Discussion notes are presented with a dash after idea: 

General
Add distance markings to track - could be done independent of greening

    Kindergarten
        deciduous trees to teach about the seasons - Species selection will be done later and involve Friends of the Urban Forrest
        have elements that engage all 5 senses - Garden plants and elements, such as boulders, should be able to enable this. 
    
    3rd Grade
        incorporate a sundial into the design - it was proposed that one of the outdoor classrooms could have this integrated
        sun, moon, starts science unit - the sundial could satisfy this
        structures of life - plants in the gardent could satisify this
        energy, light, and matter - There may be ways to incorporate elements to address these
        San Franciscan geology model with three layers of the franciscan complex [ greywacke (sandstone), chert, basalt ] - Miller Company liked the idea of trying to incorporate this into seating perhaps
    4th Grade
        rocks and minerals - there may be ways to embed stone samples into the garden
        California missions - perhaps an abstract map could be included 
        electricity and magnetism - perhaps embedding magnets to interact with
        environments plants, insects, fish - no water feature was ever planned for fish, but plants and insects are a certainty

The concensus that people liked elements of both concepts and that Miller Company should try to combine ideas from both. Incorporating teacher suggestions around curriculum is also expected to occur. 

Feedback was provided at the meeting that there were parents who would like to be involved in the process but were unable to when meetings were held during work hours. There was still a strong desire for teachers to have the opportunity for more feedback. In order to attempt to satisify both realms, two meetings will be held on the same day. Anyone from the committee and school staff can attend either or both meetings. 

    Monday, October 22, 3:30 pm - primarily aimed at teachers
    Monday, October 22, 5:30 pm - primarily aimed at parents

At the October 22 meetings Miller Company will provide a consolidated set of plans with feedback on how to combine elements from both conceptual plan 1 and plan 2. There will also be information on costs of various elements so choices based on budget can be made. 

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