Mountain Campus Investment Overview

Big things are happening at our beloved Mountain Campus and in our outdoor education program!

We are excited to share the details below about our planned physical investments at Mountain Campus.

What are we adding?

The infrastructure investments at Mountain Campus are taking two forms — yurts and a bathhouse that includes showers, sinks and…..flushable toilets!

What will the yurts look like?

These photos are a close approximation. Seven yurts will be added with room in each yurt for up to 10 people. The yurts will include a door that closes, windows, a dome for light/air and communal space that allows students to spend time together reading or playing games. Porches attached to the yurt will offer an additional place to gather and bond. With canvas sides drawn tightly against a circular wooden frame and new platforms with interwoven planks, we expect unwanted visits from local insects to be much less frequent. 

Yurt 1 Photo
Yurt Photo 2

Will we really be able to take showers and flush toilets?

Yes, the bathhouse will include five individual bathrooms, including one that is designed to accommodate physical disabilities. Each bathroom includes a private shower, sink and flushable toilet. In addition, a row of sinks along an outer wall of the bathhouse will accommodate handwashing, toothbrushing and bottle-filling. 

Will we still need to hike down the hill to access the bathhouse?

We’re excited to say those late night stumbles down the hill to the loos and back will be a thing of the past. The bathhouse will be located across the path from the dining hall and set back slightly into the woods (for those of you who remember the First Aid tent from the past, that will be its approximate location).

What will happen to the tents and the loos?

We will relocate some of the tents to preserve the option to use them on trips with older students who may want to try them out or for Mountain Campus Family Weekend. The loos will stay where they are for now, providing an alternative for anyone reluctant to walk all the way up the hill during an activity on the lower field. 

Is this going to change the rustic nature of Mountain Campus?

Absolutely not! While these investments will make Mountain Campus more comfortable for students, teachers, and parents, we’re not suddenly going “posh.” The yurts and the bathhouse will reflect the rustic ethos of Mountain Campus, while adding functionality that makes the Mountain Campus experience more welcoming for everyone.

Why are we making these investments?

While we believe strongly that moving outside our physical and emotional comfort zones can be critical for growth, we also know that for many of our students, the current conditions at Mountain Campus can make it difficult to access the learning we want them to have. From uncomfortable sleeping to fear of the loos, it can be difficult to fully engage in the program when so much of your brain is busy managing your emotional well-being.

These investments align with three important objectives in our 2016-2022 strategic plan:

  • Redesigning our physical spaces to advance the academic program and reflect all of our program priorities.
  • Reaffirming our commitment to outdoor education and expanding environmental education as an essential part of academic excellence.
  • Enhancing and leveraging our students’ Mountain Campus experience in support of our larger vision.

How will this impact the Mountain Campus program?

As noted above, improving the physical conditions at Mountain Campus will enhance the learning experience of our students by addressing the most common sources of concern and discomfort. In addition, a task force of Sheridan faculty and staff, led by Mountain Campus Director Sandy Liebson, is reimagining our Mountain Campus program through the lens of environmental education and developing new curriculum and practices. This curriculum is designed to give students a strong connection to place, a deep appreciation for the natural world, an understanding of the ecological, economic and cultural connections between humans and the environment, and the ability to take action to make a positive impact on the natural world. Look for more information about this group’s work in the coming months.

What will this cost?

We estimate the costs for these improvements at $300k. To undertake them, we are aiming to raise half of the projected costs, or $150,000, through fundraising, specifically through the 2019 Sheridan Auction.

When will the improvements be made?

The Sheridan Auction, a crucial source of funding for the investments, will take place on March 9, 2019.  While we are dependent on construction schedules and the availability of our contractors, we are committed to adding the yurts and bathrooms in 2019.

What is my role in this?

Mountain Campus was established almost 50 years ago by a dedicated group of Sheridan parents, faculty and administrators. All of our children have benefited from their vision and commitment to developing Sheridan as a school that values outdoor education.

Today, we are asking every Sheridan family to support us in this effort and help us raise the $150,000 we need to advance and enhance both Mountain Campus and the environmental education our children receive. There are multiple ways to make a contribution including:

  1. Donate an item or service to the auction
  2. Serve as an auction sponsor or make a cash donation to underwrite our costs
  3. Invite a grandparent or special friend to send a Love Note to your child
  4. Purchase auction tickets for you and for a teacher (on sale January 30th!)
  5. Purchase items from the online auction (opens February 22nd)
  6. Buy a raffle ticket for your child’s class project (late February)
  7. Attend the auction party (Saturday, March 9th)
  8. Raise your paddle at the auction party

With so many ways to help us reach our goal, we hope you will consider checking the box on all of them! If you have any questions about the auction and how to lend your support, please contact Wendy Lunde or Maureen Minehan.

What if Mountain Campus isn’t our thing?

We know that some families LOVE Mountain Campus and for others, it’s nice to have, but the camp-like atmosphere may not be their thing. Regardless, it’s our hope that EVERY Sheridan family will contribute to these improvements as they benefit EVERY CHILD at our school. Just as important, the improvements also support the dedicated teachers and staff members who regularly leave the comforts of their own homes and families behind each spring and fall to make Mountain Campus the best experience possible for our students. If we work together, we can all be happy campers!

I have more questions. Who should I ask?

For questions about Mountain Campus improvements and our outdoor education program, contact Jessica Donovan and/or Director of Mountain Campus Sandy Liebson. For questions about the auction and how you can help us raise what we need, contact Wendy Lunde or Maureen Minehan.