Tim's Take: Bethesda selling dirt, not land

By Tim Guidera - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – The road is temporary. But the work being done on it will have a permanent impact on the changing face of Savannah as well as the growing curriculum at Bethesda Boys School.

"We want to start some aqua culture here on campus,'' said Bethesda president David Tribble. "We can get our boys more involved in studying from plant life to aqua culture to our cattle production.''

And the way to that aqua culture is through the dirt.

Bethesda is selling fill soil from a corner of its 650-acre campus to be used in the construction of the final stage of the Truman Parkway. So there's been steady activity and different forms of building on both ends of the one-mile route the soil is taking.

Trucks are carting dirt away from an existing lake on Bethesda property, eventually making it grow in size from 25 to 40 acres. And a larger lake is going to represent greater educational and recreational opportunities for students at Bethesda.

"We're going to be able to have some impoundments around the lake, some nursery beds are going to be included and we'll be stocking the lake,'' said Tribble. "So we're trying to link up what we're learning in school to the natural resources of Bethesda. And any time you can add something that you haven't done before, then that creates excitement among faculty and students and keeps our young people understanding that Bethesda's moving forward.''

There are other results, ranging from the practical to the inquisitive.

"Of course, by doing this we get some wonderful revenue,'' said Tribble, who understands the constant truck traffic at the site has attracted attention. "My phone rings just about every day with somebody in the community saying, what's going on?''

Any time a shovel goes in the ground on Bethesda property, the reaction is equal parts curiosity and concern, passersby wondering if the school is perhaps expanding across Ferguson Avenue or maybe selling land to developers. But neither is happening now.

"We have many neighbors who've lived here for many years and of course they're curious and they're interested,'' says Tribble. "And we're certainly willing in a very transparent way to say what we are doing.''

What they're doing now is more than playing with dirt. They're helping to keep the six-year old school on increasingly solid ground.

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