Midland School in Los Olivos Proceeds with Campus Renewal Project with Loan Approval | School zone

the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved a tax-exempt loan issued by the California Business Development Authority up to $6 million at its February 1 meeting, which will help fund campus renewal and renovation plans at Los Olivos boarding school Midland School.

Midland School, now in its 90th year, is a college-preparatory coeducational boarding school that focuses on “experiential and place-based learning” and the natural campus environment.

The school offers many traditional high school classes, as well as other more unique offerslike natural horseback riding, a 10-acre organic farm, an Outdoor Leadership Steward program and more.

The current phase of the project includes the renewal and replacement of student bathrooms, the replacement of 24 student accommodation cabins and the addition of new on-campus faculty accommodation.

Since school was founded by Paul and Louise Squibb in 1932he kept a rustic, simple aesthetic and a “need, not want” philosophy.

“Midland has always been skeptical of change. A well-constructed building looks elegant to us, even if it’s quite simple,” said Midland school principal Christopher Barnes. “It’s about the people and the place, not the facilities per se.”

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A concept sketch of Midland School’s Upper Yard site plan by Emma Munger, Class of 2008. (Rendered with permission)

The student housing shacks will be moved out of Sahm Canyon, which has historically been a flood route, with excessive rainfall and flooding occurring approximately every 25 years.

While the school’s campus renewal team simply wanted to move the pan-adobe cabins, it would trigger seismic requirements, which Barnes said would reduce much of the cabins’ living space, so that new buildings will instead be custom-built in factories and brought to campus.

“We all love old buildings, but sometimes it just doesn’t make sense and they need to be replaced,” Barnes said.

According to Barnes, the project is expected to begin in the summer or fall and be completed next fall.

Meanwhile, the addition of two new faculty homes will begin in the spring or summer, with two more to follow.

The campus will lose one faculty house, while four new buildings will be constructed, there will be three additional houses once the phase is completed.

Duplex-style staff houses will be built in the meadow adjacent to the school’s lower courtyard, and a barn-adjacent staff house was recently built near Kit’s Barn on campus.

Midland School’s “campus renewal” project began in 2013, and the campus renewal timeline on the school’s website shows that many projects have since been completed, including the renovation and construction of several buildings on campus, the installation of a generator and the domestic installation. the water supply pipe being buried.

“From flood lanes to footprints, this plan reaffirms Midland’s place-based approach,” the school’s website reads.

Barnes said the project would cost around $11 million and much of the funding had already been secured.

The current phase of the Midland School Los Olivos Campus Renewal and Renovation Project involves renewing and replacing student bathrooms.
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The current phase of the Midland School Los Olivos Campus Renewal and Renovation Project involves renewing and replacing student bathrooms. (Courtesy picture)

He said about a third of it was raised through fundraising, while the school already had another third and took out loans for the remaining third.

The most recent loan approved by the Supervisory Board will be issued by the California Enterprise Development Authority, a joint-powered authority created by the California Association for Local Economic Development which issues tax-exempt and tax-driven fiscal bonds for commercial and industrial development projects in the state.

Barnes said the campus renewal process has been “eye-opening,” especially when looking at the gap between where the campus started and now.

For example, Barnes mentioned how the campus switched from kerosene to electric lighting in the 1940s, and now the Midland School plans to “go solar”.

“While deeply tied to our history, burning wood as a means of heating water has one of the highest carbon footprints, and today’s building codes make wood-burning stoves impractical and irresponsible. for the environment,” Midland’s website says. “Although solar power is not new to Midland, it is clear that solar power must be a new normal and will be an integral part of our campus renewal plans.”

In the past, Midland students have participated in campus development and the construction of cabins and other campus buildings.

With new county codes and regulations, however, the school said it has become more difficult to involve students in projects in the same way; however, he still finds ways to carry on that Midland legacy.

For example, in the spring, Midland School sophomores spent a week tearing down three upper yard cabins and seniors repurposed cedar pan-adobe to build a platform for a Hardluck yurt on the new Bobcat Bend Trailindicates the project website.

More information about Midland School, its campus renewal project and how to help or support the project can be found at Midland School website.

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