Path cleared to continue Arden Project

The school has acquired the necessary property to complete the Arden Project, and trustees and administrators are having preliminary talks to consider a timeline. However, no firm plans are in place for starting the next phase of the project, which was approved by the city ten years ago.

The first phase of the Arden Project was the installation of the soccer field and the above ground parking lot after the school bought and removed the houses that previously stood on that land.

This year the school has acquired the last house on Arden Blvd. that it needs to make room to continue the project. The city approval permits extending the parking lot, expanding Booth Field to be a full-length soccer field, adding a garden between the parking lot and the field, and replacing the current swimming pool and patio deck with a CIF-certified pool. Despite that city approval, no specific plan to execute the project has been developed, Director of Finance and Operations Nick Hernandez said.

Head of School Barbara Wagner said she is adamant about completing the Leadership in Learning campaign before beginning any new construction.

“We’re not going to be diverted from the campaign. Hopefully, we’ll be able to finish by next year,” Wagner said.

She said the Arden Project could happen anytime in the next five years.

The Arden Project will not be as big of a project as the Munger building, Wagner said.

“A project as large as the Munger Hall project is only done around every hundred years,” Wagner said.

Whatever the size of the Arden Project relative to Leadership in Learning, Wagner said discussions with neighbors are crucial.

Hernandez said the administration is always in contact with Arden residents and other neighbors to ensure that the neighbors will not be negatively affected by any renovations.

Wagner said she hopes the school will be able to meet with neighbors concerning the Arden Project by January.

To make room for the approved expansion, the school would need to remove the three houses north of Booth Field, including Wagner’s home, and the two houses to the south of the parking lot. The school bought the final house, the one immediately south of the parking lot at the beginning of the year.

Article by Julie and Heather.