Timber Framing Class Raises Frame for Outdoor Classroom

Timber Framing Class Raises Frame for Outdoor Classroom

Timber Framed Outdoor Classroom Takes Shape

With the assistance of a giant crane, Chris Schmidt’s Timber Framing class has now raised the frame for the first third of TA’s new 24 x 32 foot Outdoor Classroom.

On June 1-2, the class erected two “bents,” which together make up one of the three “bays” the structure will contain when next year’s Timber Framing class brings the building to completion in May and June 2018.

After completing computer-assisted drawings in Google Sketch-Up in January, students built scale models of the structure and presented three designs to TA staff in February, and then made a formal presentation to the Board of Trustees in March.

In April and May, the students prepared mortises and tenons for assembly, and then helped prepare the foundation, which included excavating the site, building support walls underground, and pouring a concrete pad.

In late May, working intensely during brief episodes of dry weather, the class moved the timbers from the shop to the building site, in preparation for raising day.

Donning pink and blue helmets and safety goggles, Mr. Schmidt and his assistant Whit Van Meter led the students on Thursday, June 1, as they raised the front and back walls, along with the framing for an attached shed dormer. On Friday, June 2, a large crane hoisted the roof trusses (in a traditional king-post design) atop the bents.

To check out the building site, drive up TA’s south driveway to the left of the White Building, heading towards the student parking lot. At the crest of the hill, with the Chorus Mansion approaching to your right, look to your left (south), and you can’t miss it.

For additional photos, click here.  Additional photos may be found on the class website, which also includes posts documenting the entire project.

Future Structures for Outdoor Education

The new outdoor classroom is the first of a couple of structures that we envision for the Barrett Property, which TA purchased several years ago. While assisting the Timber Framing class on design recommendations for the outdoor classroomSmith and Vansant Architects have been preparing conceptual drawings for a physical Center of Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education, to be located just to the southwest of the outdoor classroom.

Supported by a $100,000 lead gift from a local foundation, this project awaits additional fundraising and board approval before it can become a reality. In addition, we anticipate that future structures, such as a sugar house and an outdoor brick oven, will be added in future years.