Five pine trees lining the walkway to the Nicholas Athletic Center (NAC) have been cut down, thanks to severe damage caused by road salt along Gerry’s Landing Road and Greenough Boulevard, Director of Facilities Derek Bross said.
“We had been monitoring the health of the trees to see if they could recover,” Mr. Bross said. “But unfortunately, the trees were completely dead and became a safety concern for pedestrians using that walking path.”
The fate of the over 25-year-old trees had been an ongoing topic for the administration over the past three years. The road salt increased the salt content in the soil, making it hard for the tree roots to take in water. Eventually, such harsh conditions stressed the trees and lead to their death. Along with Bartlett Tree Experts, the school’s arborist, and Andrew Leonard, the school’s landscape architect from Leonard & Associates, Mr. Bross decided that the trees had to go.
“If we were to leave the dead trees in the ground for another year, then there could be a chance they could fall,” Mr. Bross explained. “That is not something we would ever knowingly risk.”
Bartlett Tree Experts removed the trees from late April through early May.
Upper School Math Teacher Mark Fidler expressed his disappointment when he noticed the missing pine trees.
“Those trees were great to look at, and all trees help fight against global warming. I was sad to see [them] gone,” he said.
Quinn Serpa ’20 felt similarly.
“It’s depressing in a way, since it felt invigorating to look at the trees,” Quinn said. “The trees made up part of our campus, and I feel like we lost a part of our school.”
With the trees gone, new electrical feeds can be trenched into the ground and the old bollards that light the walkway can be replaced, Mr. Bross said. The school also said it plans to plant new trees in an area where the soil quality is better. That location has not yet been determined.