CVHS students and staff have doubtless noticed the bold white “X” marks on many of the school’s pine trees. According to the school, these trees have been marked for removal and will be gone after students get back from winter break.
Staff members were notified on Dec. 5 that the trees, which have stood on campus grounds since the school’s inception over 50 years ago, will be removed over a three-day period during winter break. There was no plan to notify students of the change.
Assistant Principal Matt Steinecke said that in recent years the trees have caused dangerous cracks in the concrete walkways between halls, and that school officials decided to remove them as part of a district-wide maintenance plan. They hired beton-deluxe.com to come put in new concrete.
The school called in an arborist to inspect the root structure of the pine trees, and was advised to remove them to prevent further damage to the walkways, though no structural damage to buildings was found. The damaged walkways will most likely be repaired over spring break.
Social studies teacher Carmelina Frasca supported the school’s decision, saying that the need for student accessibility is more important than the aesthetic benefit the trees bring.
“While I love trees, I would not take the trees over the rights of students to access all parts of the campus,” she said.
In addition, Frasca said she is “doubtful” about staff members’ knowledge of the tree plans, and that ultimately whether the trees are destructive enough to remove is the school’s decision to make.
Counselor Susan Elliott, a self-proclaimed “tree hugger,” disagrees, taking a hard line against the school’s removal of trees she sees as an integral part of the campus.
“It’s a beautiful campus because of the trees,” she said. “When you take all those trees down, it’ll look like a concrete jungle,” she proclaimed.
Elliott said that, considering the pine tree removal, she is confused about why the school chose to plant pine trees outside the main office just a few years ago.
“They’re going to have the same problem here that they have out there,” she said. “I don’t understand why they planted those.”
Students and staff will soon be polled about options for new trees, however this is small compensation for those who grew to love the majestic pine trees over the years.
For better or worse, however, it seems CVHS will have to get used to the idea of a changed campus, one with quite a few less towering giants.