Monday, January 28, 2013

Ground has Been Broken on New Hill School Housing

Blogger's Note: The following was posted on The Hill School's web site recently and pointed out by Communications Director Cathy Skitko. It has been edited somewhat.

On a cold, clear Jan. 18 night Hill School faculty, trustees, construction officials, and guests from the Borough of Pottstown gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the long-awaited East Faculty Village project.

In noting that the Village will be home to Hill teaching, coaching, and advising "masters," Headmaster Zachary Lehman recognized efforts of many friends of the school, including former Headmaster David R. Dougherty and his wife, Kay, who worked to make this project a reality.

(View more photos from the event by clicking here.)

Construction began earlier this month as crews began site preparation that included work to close Green Street, as a portion of that road will become part of a lawn connecting the eight new homes (four duplex) Faculty Village with the rest of campus.

The East Faculty Village homes are slated for completion this summer, with faculty and their families moving into the units prior to the 2013-14 academic year.

On June 30, 2012, The Hill School completed a successful $5.7 million capital campaign toward the Faculty Village. The campaign received broad, major gift support from alumni; friends; current faculty and faculty emeriti; and current and past parents of The Hill. The gifts secured during this targeted campaign provided the necessary resources required for planning and construction of the East Faculty Village. A formal celebration recognizing all contributions to the project will be held during Hill's Reunion Weekend in June.

An artist's rendering of the new faculty housing development.
The Hill School’s reputation is founded upon the quality of its faculty.

Therefore, The Hill must invest continually in the current team of almost 100 faculty members, as well as those to come and must demonstrate an institutional commitment to sustaining the highest standards of teacher performance, according to the post.

Nearly all faculty members at The Hill reside in dormitories and serve as dorm parents or live in homes on campus, assisting and contributing to residential life in a variety of ways: coaching, advising students, and chaperoning weekend events.

Because faculty members’ work is a round-the-clock commitment -- because their “job” does not end when they go home each evening -- the school needed to upgrade and expand housing options, especially for those professionals who have young and growing families and for whom many of the school’s current living arrangements simply are inadequate, or in need of significant renovation or repair.

A rendering of what one of the Green Street duplexes
will look like.
The new East Faculty Village in the Green Street neighborhood to the east end of campus will be integrated with the main campus through extensive walkways and the grand crescent lawn. These essential houses will be spacious; energy-efficient, using "green" design components; and equipped with basic modern amenities.

Significantly, the units will offer dedicated "living and learning" spaces for faculty-student gatherings and tutoring sessions.

The Hill’s plan to construct attractive faculty housing on this longtime School-owned land also further demonstrates its commitment to remaining a vital part of the Pottstown community, according to the post.

As part of the project, in an agreement approved by Pottstown Borough Council in June 2008, The Hill agreed to pay $100,000 to the Borough to support local economic development initiatives.

The Hill, a tax-exempt not-for-profit institution, also agreed to make payments to the Borough on the faculty housing units as if they were taxable by the Borough, for a period of 20 years.

(Blogger's Note: No such tax agreement exists or was sought with the Pottstown School District, whose revenue losses will be significantly greater.)

In addition, The Hill will pay up to $325,000 for repairs and upgrades of Edgewood Street (which runs between High and Beech streets), which will benefit many of the school’s community neighbors; the School also will be responsible for constructing other public improvements directly related to the project and the borough-approved vacation of Green Street which will allow students full, safe access to this area of the campus.

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