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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Tree removal slated for AME next week, construction under way
Timber Five oak trees are among the trees tagged for removal from the Anna Maria Elementary School campus to make way for the construction of the new school. Islander Photo: Diana Bogan

The Anna Maria Elementary School construction is under way and more trees are scheduled to be removed early next week.

AME Principal Kathy Hayes said the remaining trees tagged for removal include some palm trees, Australian pines and a few oak trees. Hayes said these are the same trees the team discussed removing at the community meetings more than a year ago.

A few palm trees and Australian pines located in the gravel parking lot adjacent to Harbor Lane will be removed because they encroach into the right of way that will be paved and used as an emergency access and cafeteria service lane.

Five oak trees that remain of the north hammock in the area that was previously bulldozed will be removed because they are too close to the footprint of the new building. Hayes reiterated that arborist David Jones, who is handling the landscape design for the new campus, informed the public at the meetings last year that these oaks would suffer trauma to their root systems from the construction of the new building.

Hayes also noted that the building footprint has already been shifted as far south as possible and that the trees are already showing signs of deterioration. She did emphasize that the remaining oak trees in the south hammock at the kindergarten playground will not be disturbed.

W.G. Mills has a tree farm from which new trees can be transplanted to the AME campus, although Hayes said it is still too early in the process to determine which types of trees and how many might be brought to the campus.

"The trees were scheduled to be taken down Monday [Nov. 22]," Hayes said, "but we wanted to give members of the community who might have concerns an opportunity to stop by the school and see which trees have been tagged" for removal.

In the meantime, other work has begun on campus. W.G. Mills has trucked in a third of the fill needed to raise the building elevation five feet.

The architectural drawings have been revised to incorporate the renovation of the auditorium and Building 9. Hayes said the auditorium is still currently slated for a $250,000 renovation, which will include replacing the windows, air conditioning and bathrooms and the addition of handicap access and improvements to the electrical system.

New members on the construction team are W.G. Mills construction superintendent Robert Schwartz, W.G. Mills project manager Rick Jiminez and school district construction services project manager Jane Dreger.