Single-sex education in Crozet

From The HooK today, referencing the new Field School, a single-sex school (of which I am a huge advocate, as I graduated from the former all-male Virginia Military Institute) - 

Barnett says he’s close to finalizing the school’s initial location, which will likely be in the Claudius Crozet Park community center in Crozet. He proudly shows architectural renderings of the space, which will feature flexible classrooms with moveable walls and a large central common area. The school is accepting applications for the fall for 16 spots in each the fifth and sixth grades. (Seventh and eighth grade will be added over the following two years.) A shuttle will take students from Charlottesville to and from school each day.

The question of the day – what will be the impact on Claudius Crozet Park? Presumably the Park Building will no longer be available for rentals.

Update: Todd Barnett clarifies and expands with his comment.

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8 Replies to “Single-sex education in Crozet”

  1. I appreciate you noticing that Field School is hoping to establish itself for its first 3-5 years at Claudius Crozet Park (pending County approval). It is a wonderful facility, and we are hopeful that we can work this out with the full support of the community. It is especially attractive since it is surrounded by great fields where we imagine our students spending their recess and sports hours. Field School will be using the facility only during school hours and during the school year. Our sports hour will take place from about 2:45 to 3:45. The classroom spaces that we build within the facility will be temporary, designed to be broken down whenever other groups need to have the use of the full facility. This will certainly be the case during the Arts and Crafts Festival weekends, and during other rental times as well. Field School will be small, starting with 16 students each in Grades 5 and 6 and adding Grades 7 and 8 in the following two years so that we never have more than 65-70 students at capacity. We will also drive a daily shuttle bus to and from the Charlottesville, and like a camp I run in Free Union (fieldcamp.net), I anticipate that 3/4 of the students will take the daily shuttle. This should limit traffic, even at capacity after 3 or 4 years, to no more than about 25 car trips and one bus trip per day. We are very interested in being accomodating, good neighbors. Please check out our website at http://www.fieldschoolcv.net for more information or call Todd Barnett at 434-923-3435.

  2. How can a private school be consistent with the Park’s restrictive covenant requiring it to be for general park uses, recreation and community entertainment?

    “The Park…shall in perpetuity be used only for park and recreational purposes which may include any lawful activities such as festivals, carnivals, concerts, celebrations, and other community related entertainment uses that have historically been allowed at the Park and shall be open for public use unless the County and Crozet Park jointly agree otherwise. This restrictive covenant shall run with the land for the benefit of the citizens of the community of Crozet and Albemarle County, Virginia, and shall be enforceable on their behalf by the Albemarle Board of County Supervisors.” DB 1601 Page 101

    A single-sex private school in Crozet may or may not be a good idea, but I don’t believe it should be at the park.

  3. When I spoke to Todd yesterday he mentioned that the Field School will be holding a public information session on 23, January at 7pm at the Crozet Firehouse.

    Whether the use is consistent with the Park’s covenants, I don’t know. I am glad to see that rather than creating a new building, they are going to use an existing structure. I expect that they will be a great addition to the Crozet community and good neighbors as well.

    Also, here is a live link to the camp – http://www.fieldcamp.net.

    Todd, if you’re reading, when is the BoS meeting to garner approval?

  4. We are holding a meeting at the Crozet FD on Tuesday, January 23rd at 7 to discuss the plan to establish our school in the Community Building at Crozet Park.

    I cannot speak for the Park Board, but we are trying to minimize impact on the function of the park by (1) restricting our operation to regular school hours during the regular school year when the Park is virtually unused, (2) making the classrooms temporary so they can be broken down and the space can be utilized by others, and (3) keeping our school small and providing a Charlottesville bus shuttle both of which will minimize traffic, far below what is typical of the Park in the summer. The revenue the Park generates through renting the Community Building is one way they can keep operating that excellent facility. Also, our school will be independent meaning that we will not be using public funds, but we are open to all families with boys and we are interested in creating an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse student body. We encourage any families who think their boy would benefit from an all boys environment to apply. More information can be found at http://www.fieldschoolcv.net.

    The Board of Supervisors meeting won’t take place until later in the Spring/early Summer. No date has yet been established.

  5. When Todd first approached me with interest in using the Crozet Park Building for his school, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, after meeting Todd I was immediately impressed with his dream, commitment, drive, attitude and desire to give parents an opportunity for an alternative education for their children (If any of you are familiar with the Charlottesville VIllage School for girls, Todd’s school is modeled similar to that). The more time I have spent with him, the more he and his school program have convinced me that his school will provide a valuable service to our area children for years to come. That is, if he is given the chance. Jim Duncan hit the nail right on the head in his January 5th letter, where he stated, “Whether the use is consistent with the Park’s covenants, I don’t know. I am glad to see that rather than creating a new building, they are going to use an existing structure.” This school will be a win-win situation for the school, the Park, and the community. I would advise those concerned to visit the Field School web site to see the specifics of his program. I especially liked the section on leadership skills that will be taught to the students. I truly believe this will be no ordinary school.

    We have drafted a lease agreement with the school. As part of that agreement, the school will participate in community related activities for the Park. Todd will be volunteering his students and student’s parents for Park activities such as the Arts and Craft’s festival. This is a valuable asset to the Park as we are always short staffed to handle the volume from these events. His students will also help with other Park related events and general Park appearance and maintenance. His program focusses on character, ethics, commitment and giving. He is also planning on making upgrades to the building such as laminate floors, rugs, and skylights. Currently, the building is used for rentals to the community for private events. Typically, we only have about 10 such events through the fall winter and spring seasons. The building is closed and winterized from December to April since the cost of operating it (read heating) would cause us to operate at a significant loss. So when Todd approached us with his dream, we thought this would be a good opportunity to actually use the Park during the off season. Also, since all of his rooms will be movable, class rooms will be taken down and stored during rental events and the Art and Crafts shows. The Park will make a small amount of money off of a facilty that primarily stands dorment and Todd has told us that he is very happy with the price. As a Park Board member, we’ve been searching for something to bring to the Park and make it useful year round. As those that live near the Park well know, it is literally unused most of the year. Another important part of the lease is that it will be re-evaluated annually with either parties being able to cancel the lease. This is not a permanent commitment and Todd figures from his side, he hopes to have his own building in 3-5 years.

    I can’t understand why someone would try to pull deed covenants in to play here to prevent this wonderful win-win opportunity from happening. The point that a private organization shouldn’t be in the Park doesn’t wash. The Crozet Park is a Private Community organization open to the public under the approval of the Crozet Park Board. Peach Tree Baseball is a private organization, open to the public (for a fee and by the rules set by Peach Tree). SOCA is a private organization and the pool is also operating under the Park Board and following the same processes as Peach Tree. It’s open to the public, but you must pay to participate, and it is governed by the rules set forth by the Park Board. The Field School will operate under the same framework, a private, non-profit organization, open to the public, to provide an alternative option for those that decide to join. So what other part of the Deed covenants are we talking about here? They want to use the Park for recreation for the students. So the only other use is a place for education. Is that what we’re against here….Education? And this place of education can be an option for some of the local parents, if they chose.

    I encourage all in the community to support this very positive addition to our community. Todd has offered the Parkside-VIllage Community Association his time to meet and discuss their concerns. I am completely convince that once you meet him, you will be as impressed as I was. I am very proud to be a part of the beginning of what I believe will become a significant asset for the Crozet and Charlottesville communities (though only temporarily at our Park). I hope you will all join me in supporting this endeavor. There is much more detail that I could share about this win-win proposal if anyone has any questions. Thanks

  6. Brian –

    Thank you so much for your thorough and detailed analysis. Would you mind providing a clarification of this sentence –

    . The Crozet Park is a Private Community organization open to the public under the approval of the Crozet Park Board.

    Crozet Park appears to be, from outward appearances, to be an Albemarle County park facility. The news that it is not and is a private organization will be just that – news – to many if not most of those Crozetians who are not familiar with how the Park is set up.

    Thanks in advance,

    Jim

  7. Jim

    Crozet Park was donated to the community some 40 or so years ago. I can get the exact date. It was specifically set up for the Crozet Community. It was not given to Albemarle County. As such, it was set up to be governed by a board to decide on it’s uses and operation. These board members are revolving and are elected with a typical President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Also, since we don’t operate under Albemarle County Parks System, we have a deed. Somewhere along the way, we established a good working relationship with the county. We don’t have the resources to take care of things like baseball and soccer fields, and the county needed these recreational resources for it’s citizens in the Crozet area. So we have a working agreement with the county. They supply and take care of all of the fields for the recreational programs, and we have the decision rights over what we want to have at the Park. The Park did build the pool and is in charge of it’s operation. We receive no money from the county for operation of the pool or any other activities. They just take care of up-keep of the hefields and grounds. The Park building is also owned by the Park. The actual programs are run by private non-profit organizations such as Peach Tree. This also helps us as we don’t have the resources to organize these programs. The Crozet Park Board consists of volunteers from the community consisting or groups that might have an interest in what is offered at the Park. This includes groups like Peach Tree, The Fire Department, The Lions Club, and we also have at large members, those that aren’t attached to an organization, but have an interest in how Crozet Park is run.

    We meet the first Wednesday of every month to discuss the Park’s issues, and we’re always looking for new members. We like to have members associated with organizations or busineses, but we will take interested ordinary citizens as well. If anyone is interested in being on the board, they are welcome to get in touch with me. I hope this clarifies the Park’s operation some. Thanks

    Brian

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