New Campus

Our New Home

The last day of 2013 was a historic one for Sebastopol Charter as the school’s Charter Foundation closed escrow on twenty acres of land intended to become our permanent and unified campus. This is a significant and long-sought step toward realizing the school’s founding vision of a campus that holds all of our students, encompasses a full and rich Waldorf curriculum, provides freedom for movement and play, and supports the essential social aspects of Waldorf pedagogy.


The Property

The property at 1080 and 1088 Hurlbut Avenue, sometimes known in the community as “the Salmon residence,” includes a large house and about twenty acres of open and gently rolling land located alongside the Joe Rodota Trail at the north edge of town in the unincorporated county. The site offers the exciting possibility both to build a beautiful campus and to provide ongoing stewardship of this significant piece of undeveloped land. In accordance with County requirements, about half of the site will remain free from developed campus facilities, affording the school the opportunity begin restoration of this land.

Our new school property will provide:

• A unified campus. After many years of separate campuses and the stress, inconvenience and constraints that such physical separation has placed on teachers and on scrambling parents, the school will finally be in one location.

• An ample playground and movement space. The new campus will provide plenty of room for all students to move with freedom. As opposed to the school’s current downtown location, which was never intended to serve as a permanent campus and which provides only a meager play area, the new site provides an abundance of room for free and healthy movement.

• Sports fields. Our new campus will have room for grassy green fields and asphalt courts, allowing our older students to play soccer, basketball, baseball, and other sports.

• Healthier recess schedules. Instead of staggering class recesses, all classes will be able to be outside together, fostering healthy interactions between the grades.

• Safety. After years of supervising students in public parks during their daily outdoor recess time, we will have a protected and enclosed environment for student play.

• Access from the bike path. Our new campus borders the Joe Rodota bike trail which stretches from Forestville to Santa Rosa, making walking and biking to school safe and convenient.

• Farming and gardening. Our curriculum will now be able to include farming and gardening, including native plantings and habitat restoration.

• Assemblies and indoor sports. As the campus develops over the years, we intend to build a large multi-purpose space to house music, drama, and indoor sports and movement.

• Community gatherings. The new campus will be large enough to hold our entire school community as well as invited guests for community gatherings, cultural events, festivals and fairs, and celebrations such as graduation.


Going Forward

The central planning group for the new campus is the Facilities Advisory Committee, a joint committee of the School Board and the Charter Foundation. The Facilities Advisory Committee holds regular public meetings which are announced in the Charter Notes.  FAC members are Chris Topham (School Executive Director), Alysson Baker (School Board member) and Bob Haroche (Charter Foundation President).

There are also several subcommittees that support the large effort of designing and building our new campus:

• Master Planning & Design: Alysson Baker, Chair (abaker@sebastopolcharter.org)
• Construction: Marshall Vincent, Chair (mvincent@sebastopolcharter.org)
• Legal and Finance: Bob Haroche, Chair (bob@thecharterfoundation.org)
• Community Outreach: Sara Margulis, Chair (smargulis@sebastopolcharter.org)
• Capital Campaign: Sara Margulis, Interim Chair (smargulis@sebastopolcharter.org)


Master Planning and Community Input

We are very pleased to be working with Siegel & Strain Architects as the project master planner. Siegel & Strain is a leader in green and sustainable building, and brings with them both deep experience in educational design and strength in the Sonoma County permitting process. We are also pleased to have PGA Design join the design team as our master planning landscape architects. We welcome their extensive experience in the sensitive fulfillment of the many technical requirements of school site planning, as well as their depth of experience in creating vibrant, nurturing, and engaging outdoor spaces.

Before we can begin building, we need a zoning use permit from Sonoma County’s planning department. To be able to apply for that permit, we will submit a master plan showing our long-term vision for the site, including campus and building design.

As one of the first and most important steps in the design process, there will be a series of community workshops guided by Siegel & Strain. These sessions will provide an opportunity for school community members and neighbors to offer input regarding the master plan of the campus. 

The Time Frame

We expect that the use permit and building permit process will be completed in 18 to 24 months and that construction will take between 6 and 12 months after that, depending on the scope of the project. This puts our move to the new campus in the fall of 2016 or winter of 2017. As the master planning and use permit process moves ahead and our construction scope becomes more certain, the schedule will become defined.

  

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