They may be just small pieces of land, but they have undergone extensive and repeated changes over the years to become what they are today. It all began with the construction and completion of Parker Hall in 1932. The area to the West of the new building was just a large khud, covered in rubble from the building project. Several pushtas were built and the rubble was used as fill. The 'terraces' were born.
In 1934-35 Mr E. Dudley Parsons and his Physics students constructed a sundial, and installed the architectural piece on 'a small flat below [the] large "Khud"'. Furnished with a large fountain, concreted paving, bridge, seats, and the sundial, the lower terrace had become a cultivated haven. The bridge and sundial in particular provided favourite props in Yearbook 'photos for the following decade and beyond.
By 1946 the fountain had disappeared, having been transformed into a brick-edged garden. In the '50s and'60s the area was called 'the garden'. The elementary classes each had a flower bed, the best one receiving the Garden Pennant. In the years that followed, the paving deteriorated, the plants in the flowerbeds either died or grew wild, and self-seeded trees sprouted, grew, and spread to create an area that truly defined the word jungle.
In 1994, Caroline Burden, the supervisor at Alter Ridge at the time, felt that something needed to be done. So she did it. A landscape artist by training, Ms Burden drew up designs for the two areas. Then the Class of '98, guided by their homeroom teacher, Kathy Hoffman, began to transform the terraces. The class cleared the areas, created flower beds, painted tables and benches, and saved the sundial from an untimely demise - Ms Hoffman arrived at the terrace one day just in time to stop someone from throwing it down the khud! The Class of '97 added significance to the area by planting two trees on the lower terrace in memory of two classmates who had died.
By February 2000 the renovations in the High School had again taken their toll on the terraces, which were now struggling under loads of rubble, and the area in front of the High School was, shall we say, aesthetically challenged. So began the next phase of the terraces' evolvement. The upper pushta was raised, filled with the rubble, and capped. The steps and terraces were repaired and paved, and the area was extensively replanted. The terraces are once again a physically beautiful place to be used and enjoyed by staff and students.
Such is the history of the terraced area. Each new phase of its existence was built upon the work of those who came before, a point recognized by the Class of '98 when they renamed the lower area, Parsons' Terrace. The commitment of staff and students and the generous donations that have funded each new development have, together, made the transformations possible. And it is now up to us to reap the benefits.
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