Movin’ at Shuman

By Scott Boylston


The completion point for our pergola at the Shuman Elementary School is getting closer and closer! Another fine day of painting and building brought the project to within one or two last days worth of work. For the next week or so, however, Emergent Structures will step out of the way to allow the volunteer forces of the Chatham PTA, and SUGA to build the raised garden beds and fill them with rich gardening soil. We’ll watch and listen carefully as these volunteers weave in, out and around the pergola, in order to get a sense of what details they’d like added to the pergola—a wrap-around step, for instance, or a rail, or a ramp. Perhaps a combination of these.

Once the SUGA and PTA volunteers complete the raised beds, build a toolshed (from more reclaimed materials, of course!), complete their awesome cedar branch fencing that David Cason has designed and is building, and perhaps even lay the reclaimed brick that has been donated, Emergent Structures will complete some trim work, and supply a waterproof coating to the deck.

We are deeply grateful for the partnerships that have made this project possible, including the IKEA Distribution Center in Port Wentworth for its generous funding, and to the two essential home material donors:

1) Jeanne Svendson, whose historic home renovation has supplied the redwood columns, the brick pavers, and the redwood lumber that will cover the toolshed.

2) Debra and Chuck Caldwell, whose historic home renovation has supplied the yellow pine timber used for the rafters, and the cedar siding that has provided materials for the decking and the lattice.

We think these two homeowners represent a vanguard of philanthropy—remaining interested in the destination of the home materials they no longer need within their homes—and we are grateful for their enthusiasm.

We are also grateful to our ‘stage one’ partners—those organizations or businesses that were involved earlier in the reclamation stages of the heartpine studs that will be used for the framing of the toolshed, and the detailing around the pergola. The Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia have been essential partners in coordinating the denailing event that prepared the studs for re-use, and NorSouth Construction coordinated the removal and transportation of the studs from the Savannah Gardens redevelopment site.

Thomas & Hutton, CHSA, and the City of Savannah Housing Department have been welcome supporters of our work from the very onset of our efforts as an organization, and we are very grateful for their continued interest in finding ways to reclaim more materials from the Savannah Gardens site, and creatively re-purpose them in memorable, and equitable.

And, of course, a huge thank you to the essential members of the construction team, including Emergent Structures board members Mark Fitzpatrick and Keith Howington, and my very own brother, Glenn Boylston!

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