Trees on campus cut down to make way for new construction

Several trees near the football field and CAT entrance were chopped down to make way for new buildings and renovations

MAYA RISH, SNN Staff Writer

Since the next phase of renovations at Lakewood started in early March, several landmark trees around the school have disappeared. Due to ongoing construction in the track and field area, several palm trees and other species that used to provide shade from the heat and cover for benches, are gone. The trees that once adorned the Center for Advanced Technologies car circle are also gone.

On April 20th, two days before Earth Day, construction workers from AJAX construction company cut down several trees near the concession stand and ticket booth on the football and soccer field. The trees were cut down to make room for a new building, and is part of a larger project that includes renovating the school’s interior classrooms, and the track and field. For years, the outdoor area lacked a key building: a bathroom. Lakewood is one of the only schools without restroom facilities for outdoor sports. Instead of proper bathrooms, the field had two semi- permanent portable potties.

With the next phase of construction, however, that is all about to change. Now, updated renovation plans include a whole new building that will serve as restrooms, a new concession stand, and a ticket booth all in one.

“(We’ll have) bathrooms so we don’t have to use those nasty porta potties,” principal Erin Savage said.

To replace the landscaping that was removed, new shrubbery and plants will be added. The old ticket booth and concession stand will be knocked down. Without a current water pipeline running to the area, however, a new water line that is big enough to handle sewage will have to be run from the gym, the closest place with bathrooms. A new flagpole will be included in the area too. The field is estimated to be done by the end of July, and the new building by October or November, Savage said.

The plans also include a brand new Walk of Fame from the concession stand to the bleachers. Now, all students, alumni, graduating seniors and advertising companies can place an order to add a personalized brick to the walkway. Options include three lines of text for $100, or three lines of text, and a piece of clip art for $125. Order forms are available on the Lakewood website ( along with pictures of available clip art.

Other plants and shade trees were cut down on April 30 in what was formerly the CAT car circle. Since the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the school had to limit points of entry and exit, putting the former car line out of use. Now, due to the construction in the bus circle behind the school, the area is being temporarily used for buses. The trees that formerly lined the driveway reached down to touch the tops of the busses. While the plan had been originally to only trim the long-limbed trees, somehow they ended up as wood shavings instead.

“I was very surprised when I saw the trees cut down, because I thought we were only going to trim the branches. That way they didn’t hit the roofs of the buses. I even told the tree cutter that if I had known this was going to happen, I would have had a chain of tree huggers, hugging the trees, but he just started laughing. I’m still sad about it,” CAT assistant principal Cristina Calderon said.

Savage wasn’t at school the day they cut the trees down, and she said that seeing them gone was disappointing, and not what she had expected.

“If I say to my kids, I need you to clean your rooms, and they don’t clean them, and I find socks everywhere… I just throw everything away… I think that’s what they did. We complained about the trees and they came in and chopped all the trees down. They don’t say that’s what they did, but in my opinion, I think that’s what happened. That was the reason why,” Savage said.

Eventually, as part of the last phase of renovations, a new outdoor seating area similar to the Hub will replace the CAT bus circle. The estimated finish date isn’t until 2022. While the drawings of the project look impressive, Savage said that the initial plans they show her are often changed by the time they finish the project.

“What they do is they show us what they can do, and once they start, they scale back on the work because it becomes too expensive,” Savage said.

The entire construction project should be done by February of 2023.

“I think once the students walk into the new rooms with everything done, … it’ll be nice to see the new flooring and new paint. I’m excited to see everything come together,” assistant principal Laura Mudd said.

This is an artist’s rendering of what the new CAT courtyard will look like after the construction is complete.