THE BIG CHOP: TWHS Campus Gets A Trim


One of the many tree stumps left by the clearing effort on the east side of the TWHS

Mike Dray and Joey Wynn

Over 70 mature trees around the TWHS campus have been cut down in lieu of construction projects planned for the summer, in order to give Ruscilli Construction, the company responsible for the rebuilding of the school, greater access to the areas surrounding the building. This project has some worried about local ecosystems and the school milieu. However, it is a necessary part of the construction and renovation of TWHS.

“The trees you see being cut down are either along the perimeter of the future building or in the current footprint of the new building,” Principal Pete Scully said.

This means all trees within 50 feet of the planned building must be cut down in order to ensure the structural security of the new building and allow construction in these areas. The project had been conducted in a timely manner, not only to allow construction to occur on schedule but to protect migratory animals. One animal, in particular, is the Indiana bat. It is an endangered species of bat that migrates to Central Ohio in early Spring and has sought large trees on the high school’s campus for refuge for years.

“It has a nesting period that is April 1st through the end of October, so if trees are not removed prior to April 1st then each tree has to be studied by an outside expert to determine that the bat is not present in order for the EPA to allow us to cut them down,” Scully said.

Removing the trees now protects an already endangered species from possibly being harmed when the trees are cut down. It also allows the school to save money for other things. Students still worry about other possible environmental impacts, despite this, the current disarray symbolizes a greener and brighter future for Thomas Worthington.

“We had some kids that were concerned that cutting down the trees in general and the construction project, in general, will cause an increase in greenhouse gasses which will lead to worsening of climate change,” Scully continued. “While that may be true, we will also end up with a building that is LEAD certified, which is a special energy efficiency distinction compared to the building we have now which is definitely not LEAD certified.”

Mr. Scully also pledged to plant over 100 new trees to replace those that were cut down on behalf of the high school.

The school also has plans to revitalize outdoor spaces around the school for student use and to create a memorial walkway to remember people whose current memorial trees were removed during his process.

As more changes to the school occur in the coming weeks, it’s important to know that Principal Scully also recognized that out of context, all of the renovations are painful but the end product will be worth the current discomfort.