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North Country School breaks ground for new building

August 27, 2009
HEATHER SACKETT, News Staff Writer
    LAKE PLACID — North Country School broke ground on a new building last week that will not only have a design that is environmenally friendly, it will also be a whimsical and imaginative place for children, according to headmaster David “Hock” Hochschartner.

    The school is planning a 7,200-square-foot building that will use solar panels to produce electricity and will be very well insulated to keep energy use to a minimum.

    At a ground-breaking ceremony Friday, Aug. 21, Hochschartner said the school has had an acute housing shortage for adults, like staff and their families, who live on the property. This new building, which has yet to be named, will help alleviate some of that. Designed by architect Stephen Tilly, the building will house about 18 people, including two staff families and 10 students.

    More than just a residence, the building takes sustainability to the next level. All the lumber for the flooring, panelling and siding will come from trees that were grown on the property.

    “The kids went out into the woods with a forester and cut down trees and skinned the bark off and those trees are going to be right in the middle of the living room and be part of a living forest,” Hochschartner said. “Our philosophy has always been to live lightly on the land and not to use more than you have to.”

    Since middle school children aged 8 to 14 make up the student body and summer campers at North Country School and Camp Treetops, Hochschartner said the new building will also incorporate fun and creative features that kids will find interesting. Residents will be able to see through the fireplace to the mountains outside and walkways will also be see-through to the stories below.

    “We have nooks and crannies everywhere,” Hochschartner said. “You have to think, what would be enchanting to an 11 or 12-year-old?”

    Hochschartner said he expects students to move into the building for the start of classes next fall. His timeline puts completion at July 1, 2010. Luck Builders, of Plattsburgh, should have the building enclosed before winter, Hochschartner said.

    “We are pretty excited,” he said.


Article Photos

From left, North Country School Headmaster David “Hock” Hochschartner, architect Stephen Tilly and Project Manager Bob Egan take the first shovels full of dirt at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building Friday, Aug. 21.

Photo provided



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