Anyone who has been to an Island School Parent's Weekend knows how crowded the outdoor seating can get when there are guests around, especially on a hot day when everyone is looking for shade. Part One of our outdoor kitchen expansion addresses this shortcoming of the dining hall by installing addition seaside seating in the shade of six beautiful palm trees on a permeable rock patio next to the dining hall. Beginning with student legacy days this semester, the area between the dining hall and the coastal sand dunes was cleared of ground cover and readied for natural stone pavers.
Our campus landscape team, consisting of Joseph, Shivardo, and Fran worked with sixteen students and several faculty to clear the area. After clearing, they taught students and faculty how to shape what Joseph refers to as “wash rock,” or the loose bedrock stones found out in the bush around Cape Eleuthera. Each rock weighs between ten and forty lbs. depending on size and must be “shaped” using a hatchet or machete to attain a strong edge and reasonably flat face for walking on. The sound of chipping rock filled the air!
After shaping the rocks Joseph led one group of students in laying pavers from the west end of the site, while Shivardo taught the students how to lay pavers beginning from the east. These two groups set down a base of sand which was brought on site by a third group of students who loaded several dump trucks full of sand using shovels. After the sand, the rocks were each carefully fit into place like a giant jigsaw puzzle, with special attention being given to make sure each end was flat and level, so when they met in the middle they would both be at the same height.
By the end of the second legacy day, the patio was joined into one large strip along the edge of the dining hall deck. The area for the table still had to be laid, so several morning work groups were organized to help Joseph, Shivardo, and Fran finish the patio in time for Parent's Week. At the same time, Ashley and Chris built a 20ft x 4 ft grand table to occupy the space between the two palm clusters on the new patio. This was extremely useful during Parent's Week dinner when it seated two advisories, one at each end, or roughly twenty five people.
More to come on the rest of the outdoor kitchen expansion when we build a wood fired pizza oven and authentic jerk pit for a little smoke flavor in our lives. Thanks everyone who helped out with part one!