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North Country School unveils green building

Even the materials for the building were selected with eco-friendly intentions. Compressed cellulose insulation fills the thick walls. Meanwhile, to reduce the energy impact of materials production, the school used much of its own resources.

The fireplace and chimney incorporate stones collected by students on school grounds, and all the lumber for the exterior siding, flooring, paneling, and other interior trim comes from maple, birch, and pine trees harvested sustainably from the school's campus.

The building includes the same unique "Eagle's Nest" stairway found in other buildings on the campus, and even features a recreational slide going from the second floor to the first.

According to Hochschartner, the school raised $2.5 million, mostly from trustees and individual donors, in order to build the $1.8 million structure and bolster it with a maintenance endowment.

The building was designed by architect Stephen Tilly and Associates of Dobbs Ferry and constructed by Luck Brothers Inc. of Plattsburgh. Tilly and his staff spent weeks interviewing the school's administration, staff, and students to plan the design.

"Our work is really an expression of the history and the present and the future of Camp Treetops as we have come to know it," Tilly said.

According to Hochschartner, the new green building is the first structure the school has built in more than 40 years, and fills a critical need for space. It will house veteran camp counselors and their families during the summer and North Country School students the remainder of the year.

In the next several years, the school hopes to add a 10-kilowatt solar panel array to power some of the camp's summer cabins and a biomass heating system for another building similar to one recently installed at The Wild Center.

"This is the first and most visible of many green projects our Board of Trustees is planned in the coming years," said Hochschartner.

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