On October 7, the architectural firm handling our revitalization process (Lenhardt Rodgers) presented the options for revitalization that had been selected, based on the long process of presentations, questionnaires, and charrettes that Kendal has been through during the better part of two years. (I’ve been documenting these steps in this blog, and that has resulted in over a dozen blog posts. To review them, type “revitalization” in the search box at the top of this page.)

Ten options for changes to the Kendal campus were presented via Zoom.

A video of the presentation is here, and the presentation slides can be viewed here.

I recommend that you spend some time with the slides, because they were not really readable in the Zoom presentation, and they contain a lot more detail than the presenters could cover verbally. A printed book, consisting of the slides, will be produced and placed in the library.

Not a plan, but a set of options. Joyce Lenhardt, who presided over the Zoom presentation, emphasized that no specific “plan” was settled on. In the words of the “Background” slide, “… it was decided that rather than produce a final plan for each campus, the Options [developed, presented, and discussed last spring] would be retained in the Revitalization Plan. This decision will allow for the plan to be fluid and the communities to make decisions step-by-step. As the community develops an Option, the community can evaluate the success of the resulting project….”

This was a divergence from the planned flow of the revitalization project, which was to conclude with a “Final Revitalization Plan”. I think just laying out a set of options was a wise choice, even though it may have disappointed those who expected to see a definitive program for the future of the campus in the coming years.

This outcome means that the revitalization discussion will be ongoing. Kendal’s previous Revitalization Committee was disbanded relatively early in the process, once the architectural firm had been selected and the process set in place. But now, with a lot of options still on the table and no set plan, Seth Beaver has asked for the creation of a new Four-Campus Revitalization Committee. That committee is in the process of being selected, and it will take on the task of continuing the discussion of the options.

The ten options that were presented for Kendal cover diverse topics, such as where the outdoor pool should be and possible locations for one or more two-story apartment buildings. In this blog post, I will present key aspects of each of the ten options for the Kendal campus, including the impacts (if any) on the number of housing units. There is also an eleventh topic: the future use of the Barn. Although this was not an official “option”, it was discussed and will be covered here.

The expansion of the medical wing at the Center is a separate project and was not discussed.

Crosslands too. There was a separate presentation for the Crosslands campus. You can view that video here. The Crosslands slides follow the Kendal ones at this link. I won’t go into any of the details of that presentation, but it is worth noting that Crosslands, too, was given a series of options rather than a final plan. In the Crosslands case, most of the options have to do with potential construction or replacement of residential units. (That differs from the Kendal situation, where 5 of the 10 options discussed deal with non-residential facilities that have no impact on residential units.) The construction of the new Woolman building and the new duplexes at the Mott Center site are already underway and were not discussed.

Potential residential changes. The table below outlines the five options that relate to residential units. In each case, I have provided a basic description, but nothing more. Please consult the presentation slides for the details.

 ConceptNet housing unitsNotes
Option 2: Harlan Glen Apartments (dog park}A two-story apartment building where the dog park is now. Might have parking underneath.+10 to +14Would not have an indoor connection to the Center. Could have a covered walkway to the new cottages (helping to integrate the new cottages with rest of campus.) Dog park would have to  move (Option 6)
Option 6: Parking Lot 3AA new row of 3 or 4 cottages could be added between lots 3 and 4, with a covered walkway connecting to the rest of the campus+3 to +4Other features of this option are covered in “Non-residential options” section of this blog post, below
Option 7: Connected Apartments (library door)One or two new two-story apartment buildings connecting to the Center at the library door. Might have parking underneath.+6 to +14 (assuming two buildings)Indoor connection to the Center, plus outdoor covered walkway to the Barn (assuming the Barn contains “3-season” event spaces by then). Cottages 78-93 (14 units) would be removed.
Option 8: CourtyardsRemoval of 9 cottages in the lower (“west”) campus to permit access by construction vehicles during cottage replacement, and additional stormwater drainage options-9Could be done in conjunction with replacing a cluster of cottages. Consideration should be given to doing the same sort of selective cottage removal with the upper (“front”) campus to help with cottage replacement there.
Option 9: Cottage replacementsWhen a cluster of cottages is replaced, they can be enlarged if they are replaced with fewer cottages or if they are extended farther at the back.0 to -44Up to 44 cottages could be lost if every cluster of cottages were to be replaced by a cluster with one fewer.

In response to a question at the end of the presentation, Seth said, “We’re not looking to increase the number of units on our campus beyond where we’ve been in the past, nor beyond what our community center and health center is designed for.” Seth’s statement is important, because in the past the possibility has been raised that construction of an apartment building might result in a unit count and resident population greater than Kendal’s previous maximum. (The previous maximum was 423 residents, and we are only about 10 below that right now.) Residents have raised concerns that Kendal already has far more residents than the approximately 290 intended as the maximum by its founders, and it is in danger of becoming so large that its character as a single community could be lost.

Non-residential options. The six following options were not fundamentally about residences (although, as noted below, Options 5 and 6 could have residential impacts).

  • Option 1: Wellness Center area. This option has the outdoor pool moving to a location near the Wellness Center. There are two advantages: the changing areas for the indoor pool could be used (the current outdoor pool doesn’t have any), and pool would be unaffected by the plans for the Entrance Area (Option 4 below). In the Q&A, residents questioned whether the depth and tiling of the current pool could be preserved at the new location. That issue remains to be resolved.
  • Option 3: 506 House area. This option concerns the use of the “506 House” which is on a rise overlooking the outer ring of the new duplexes. It is currently used for storage, but could become an event center, with nearby facilities for pickleball and half-court basketball.
  • Option 4: Entrance area. The option involves moving the entrance circle closer to the Center, eliminating the existing port cochere and greatly shortening the long walkway to the front door. It would also bring the circle very close to the outdoor pool (which motivated the suggestion to move the pool in Option 1).
  • Option 5: Connected Green Space. This option contemplates a green area stretching from the Barn to the 506 House. The cottages nearest the Center (57 through 61, and possibly 56 and 55) might be removed, and there would be a new covered walking path out alongside the Blueberry Meadow, to the new duplexes.
  • Option 6: Parking Lot 3A area. In this option, Lot 3A (which is currently being used for bus parking) would become a new dog park, with additional residents’ gardens at either end. A new cluster of 3 or 4 cottages could be added, as noted in the table above. The buses would ultimately end up parking at the Maintenance area, if Option 10 is adopted.
  • Option 10: Maintenance area. New sewage-treatment equipment will permit the elimination of the upper pond (and, I assume, its odors). In this option, it will be possible for the maintenance road to Crosslands to bypass the parking lot. There will be expanded parking for buses. Walking access to the gardens and tennis courts will be improved. The new maintenance shed shown in this option is already under construction as this is written.
  • The Barn. On the Kendal “Introduction” page, three possibilities are laid out for the barn. One (“Minimal”) involves no interior changes but adds an outside garden. Another (“Medium”) involves fixing up the two rooms on the upper level (with an entrance approximately level with the croquet lawn) for use as three-season spaces, to be used for meetings, classes, a game room, or similar purposes. A hydroponic garden might be a possibility, but it would require setting up an area with year-round climate control. The lower (parking-lot) level would continue to be used for storage. The third option (“Maximum”) would equip the entire space for year-round use. 

Sustainability is prominent. I was pleased to see that, in the introductory material, and at various points throughout the slides, high priority is given to sustainability and preservation of the natural environment. These subjects were mentioned verbally in the Zoom presentation, but their prominence was not as clear as it is in the slides.

One of the first slides (pertaining to both campuses) is titled “Overall Sustainability Strategy”, and it contains the following points:

“Create sustainable buildings and campus through:

  • Carbon reduction through phased electrification [i.e switching current uses of natural gas, propane, and heating oil to electricity]
  • Carbon reduction through increased building efficiency
  • Prioritize indoor air quality during design, construction, & operation
  • Utilize renewable materials & resources, but consider durability & life cycle impacts during selection
  • Energy & water efficiency
  • Focus on solutions based on long term sustainability”

Sustainability was also a theme of the “Overall Revitalization Goals” slide. That slide contained points such as:

  • “Protect, preserve and maintain the Big Woods, the arboretum, the nature trails and paths ….”
  • “… continually evaluate opportunities to bring the campuses closer to the net zero energy goals.”
  • “Consider opportunities for Solar Installations (ground mounted, on roofs or to cover parking) ….”
  • “… the Kirkpatrick Field property [on route 926 between Crosslands and Parkersville Road] could be developed as a ground mounted solar installation.”

Additionally, the Kendal-specific goals mentioned carbon neutrality, sustainability, minimizing use of cars, and environmental stewardship.

I don’t think anything stating this level of commitment to sustainability at Kendal has ever appeared in print before.

The document also states that “Campus-wide strong and reliable WiFi is essential and must be provided for all campuses.” While not strictly speaking a “sustainability” feature, WiFi connectivity will be essential for some of the facilities that will be needed to reach carbon neutrality.

There’s a difference between Kendal and Crosslands. Another significant point about the Kendal presentation and the one at Crosslands was the degree to which the specific features of each campus were acknowledged. We have sometimes heard the claim the two communities are basically the same. While that may be true in some respects, there are important differences, and some of those are reflected in the slides.

Many of the goals stated in the slides are essentially the same for both campuses. However, some do differ. Whereas a Kendal goal is “maintain the scale and village quality of the community,” there is no similar Crosslands goal. Instead, a Crosslands goal is “retain the openness and long views of the campus.” Kendal has a goal of “diversity”, but Crosslands doesn’t.

In the Introduction slide for Crosslands, the point is made that Crosslands consists of “… buildings that are linked in a chain organized around the historic Ellerslie Building and the central Pond with long views rather than a concentrated village [like Kendal]”. This means that “the Crosslands campus is more car-dependent because of travel distance to the Center….” As a result, parking is a major theme throughout the Crosslands slides, whereas it is relatively minor for Kendal.

It is good to see explicit acknowledgement of some of these Kendal-Crosslands differences.

A very useful document. At times, I have worried that the outcome of this process would disappoint me. But I am pleased with the document that resulted, and I applaud all who put time and effort into this project.

Now, of course, we must face the question of which parts of this will actually be implemented, and in what order. I’m sure there are many healthy differences of opinion to be sorted out in the months and years to come.

Personally, I like what is proposed for the Entrance area (Option 4), the Maintenance area (Option 10), and the Lot 3A area (Option 6). The scattered cottage removals of Option 8 seem necessary. If apartments are to be constructed (and I am generally supportive of the need for them), then connect them to the Center (Option 7), and compensate for the additional residents by reductions elsewhere, avoiding growth in the resident and unit count.

For the remaining options, I need to learn more, and hear more from other residents. I can see the arguments for both swimming pool locations (Options 1 and 4), and the “greenway” concept (Option 5) sounds like it could be a good addition to the campus (although I am not very good at visualizing it).

I’m nervous about the ideas for the 506 House (Option 3). At Crosslands, the Mott Center is currently being torn down. It was built (I believe) less than 20 years ago based on a similar concept: it was to be a meeting and event venue at the periphery of the campus. My understanding is that it never caught on with residents (who preferred to gather at the Center). If I’m wrong about this bit of history, I hope a Crosslands resident will correct me.

Your revitalization preferences are probably different than mine. I encourage you to use the Comment box below to express them.