Building and Grounds Committee focuses on campus improvements

The new baseball fence in the outfield

The USJ Building and Grounds Committee has a strategic plan for the future. Over the last few years, improvements have been made to buildings, lawn areas, fences, and roofs.

As the 2014-2015 academic year ended, the committee planned to continue improving the USJ campus as part of the school’s overall commitment to excellence.

“Our goal is to address issues before they happen,” said Charlie Garrett, Building and Grounds Committee chairman. “We forecast projects for which we will need to budget one, two, even five years from now. This gives the finance committee time to plan and, hopefully, prevents dealing with projects in an emergency setting.”

The committee includes Richard Ayers, Lee Driver, Joe Grace, Josh Hayes, Stu Hirstein, Jack Peel, Jason Sammons, and Jeff Watlington. The group frequently meets to forecast upcoming expenditures and discuss ongoing projects.

Here are updates on several projects …

  • Last summer, the committee initiated painting the exterior of the Upper School because the old paint had begun to peel and look worn. The project, done over several weeks, has greatly improved the appearance of the Upper School building, Garrett said.
  • The Bruins Club funded the replacement of the baseball fence. The new, black-vinyl chain-link fence is strategically covered with padding to ensure safety for the outfielders. The fence is 4 feet high on the sides and 6 feet high in the foul corners. Centerfield boasts a 10-foot by 80-foot “batter’s eye,” which creates a dark background to make the baseball easier for batters to see. 
  • The football fieldhouse got a new roof in January. Over time, several leaks had developed, creating problems in various areas, particularly in the weight room.
  • Problems with erosion on the grounds also are being addressed. The site drainage locations are barely noticeable, but could potentially cause future problems if they are not reconciled, said Garrett. Concrete and other materials have been poured to shore up the culverts where storm water had caused valleys and pockets in some of the culverts and grassy swells. This project will continue in the late spring and into the summer.

“The goal for all of USJ’s Building and Grounds’ projects is to maintain an environment that everyone can be proud of,” said Garrett. “It is all about creating the best learning environment possible for our children.”