In the next two years, Concord Academy will carry out its vision for West Campus, constituting the most ambitious capital project ever pursued by the school. The plan mainly seeks to meet the needs of the performing arts curriculum by constructing a brand-new arts center, which will be the second-largest building on campus. As part of CA’s one million dollar commitment to environmentally sustainable construction, the new Centennial Arts Center will also feature solar panels, air-source heat pumps, and improved insulation.
However, the West Campus sustainability plans also feature a secondary component: the complete transformation of the lower field into a pollinator garden. The swampy and overgrown land will be replaced by a pleasant meadow of wildflowers and grasses. Because sustainability is one of the main tenets of the project, the idea to reimagine the lower field was seen as an opportunity to deliver on CA’s promises. Director of Operations Don Kingman, a key person working on this project, said: “Sustainability was a big part of this project. We knew we were going to impact that field space, especially since we didn’t need the field because of Moriarty.” The garden will be completed near the end of the West Campus project, likely around March of 2025.
The garden is designed to serve as a nexus for biodiversity, as it will be cultivated to attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. These creatures play a vital role in supporting ecosystems, as three quarters of the world’s flowering plants reproduce through pollination. The increased fertilization of a wide variety of native plants adds to biodiversity, making the neighboring environment more diverse and resilient.
Furthermore, the garden is intended as an educational and social site open to students. Kingman listed some of the possibilities the garden could offer, saying, “I can see science classes going in and doing projects, maybe a student bee club could use the space—I’m thinking to grab a gazebo so it can be a place for students to sit down and converse.” The garden will feature mowed pathways for visitors to stroll along, and will be a place of recreation in addition to an environmental resource.
As CA strides into its second century, the pollinator garden project is an initiative that seeks to reinforce the school's promises and principles. As an added benefit, the lower field, long-unusable for athletics because of its swampy terrain and unusual shape, will finally see use. The hope is that greater biodiversity and opportunities for environmentally-focused education will reaffirm CA’s mission statement in this pivotal point in its history.