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Spud Bars and Transformations at Bixby School

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When Pat and Bart opened the Bixby School that we know and love, basically it was a big McStain home, (Tom and Caroline Hoyts’ children attended Bixby), surrounded by a chain link fence on the outskirts of south Boulder. The Bridgewalk and Tantra apartments were not built, Lower Yard and Preschool Yard were sand lots, and the trees that help define and embrace this wonderful school were not yet planted. The view west to the Flatirons was across open prairie.

I still use the spud bar that Bart used to dig the holes for posts in Lower and Preschool Yards along with the six-foot wooden privacy fencing that now surrounds most of our three and a half acres. All of the trees were “foundlings” or deeply discounted cast-offs that were planted by hand and watered year round by Pat and Bart. Living on the property afforded them the “luxury” of being able to create and build their next idea after the school day ended and on the weekends, but believe me: digging a simple hole in this earth is not easy, even with a six-foot bar.

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” Archimedes

I can still hear Bart reciting that quote in his calm, measured voice. Pat has told me that he gave a few newlyweds spud bars as wedding gifts!

Lately, my lever of choice has been the telephone to call trusted contractors. This summer, we undertook a number of projects that you may or may not have noticed. We’ve changed the color of the trim and doors from reddish to blue, and continue to paint walls and pipes with the help of our painter, Laura Klein, and friends. Nifer helped get rooms prepped and made sure Elizabeth’s office was ready for her. My good friend, Jon Hall, built and installed so many Ikea shelves I’m afraid to try counting them. Yet, there they are, filled with vibrant books for the kids to discover. Steve Lawrence of Flatirons Construction signed on to replace five windows, and also completed a major French drain project where the preschool sidewalk used to be. The crew from Panorama Landscaping created a beautifully xeriscaped island and installed our new sign from Tribble Stone. Brett from Nuetec Electric Services is helping us update a lot of our lights to LED, so even though we are wind-powered, we will use much less energy. Each of these people became a lever on the fulcrum that is the Bixby campus.

At one point or another, each of these people has remarked what a wonderful place Bixby is and how lucky the kids are to go here. Well, it’s not just the kids that are lucky, we all are. To work in a place so lovingly crafted, yet open to change and transformation, where everyone does their part to make our school great is a gift. It’s also hard work. We do it so that this generation of Bixby students can develop their own levers to move the world.

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