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A Tainted Spring Season

New Construction on AFS Campus
Mason Fullerton ’25

We’ve all seen the wonderful additions Abington Friends School has made to its nature-oriented campus in the past few years: a wonderful new sports facility and new carpets and design in the student commons and other parts of the building. Now, starting just a few weeks ago, and unknowingly to the families and the students of the AFS community until a few days before, construction has begun on campus once again, the most noticeable being the removal of the fence that bordered Varsity Field and the orange construction tape that now stands in its place. 

Moreover, AFS has removed a natural aspect I cherish dearly. Trees that once lined Jenkintown Road have been torn down. The aura and memory of those trees that once were no longer exist. 

When asked about what he thought of the removal of the trees, Zachary DuTot ‘25 said, “I miss the Willow tree that was chopped down. I used to stand under it when waiting at the bus stop. Now, the space feels empty, even lifeless.”

Still, the construction comes with its benefits. Rich Nourie, head of school at AFS, promised to plant two new trees for every tree removed from campus. Nourie also explained that the addition will make the campus more accessible in the future by adding larger walkways and bike paths to encourage the public to walk, run, and bike around campus. 

As Winter dissipates and warm weather rolls in, it is common to see the AFS community, students and teachers alike, taking a stroll through the campus, admiring the beauty of our trees and flowers. With the new “addition” to the AFS campus, the tranquility enjoyed by many before is missing. 

Arbor Day – a school tradition and holiday celebrated for over two hundred years – happened on April 26th. According to The Arbor Day Foundation, the celebration is a day where “individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees.” 

I found it rather ironic that such an environment-friendly ceremony would be held with the newly established tree graveyard in the background. 

Furthermore, seniors, who are enjoying their last few months at AFS, are disproportionately affected by the inclusion. It is unfair to taint the seniors’ last few weeks by effectively ruining the campus. It is a shame their last memory of the campus will be dug-up trees, construction tape, and the unwanted roaring of heavy machinery. 

What’s more, the construction has caused more unwelcomed traffic on multiple roads, making many people victims of a prolonged commute. 

Ruairi Rossi ‘24 said “It is disappointing to know that this is my last few weeks here and all I can see is construction. I am also finding it to be more difficult to arrive at school on time because of the closed roads and detours.” 

Rossi, not unlike many AFS students, feels as if the construction has negatively affected his experience at school.

Even though I don’t think of myself as a tree-hugger, I firmly believe that planting trees to replace historical and majestic trees, such as my mom’s favorite Willow tree, does not fill the hole that was left. Nevertheless, only time will tell. 

Despite the large steamroller and heaps of dirt that are positioned at the entrance to campus, it is true that good things come to those who wait. The past additions to the AFS campus have proved to be fruitful, I am hoping this one will too.

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