T.R.E.E. Facility Upgrade
Situated along the Tchefuncta River outside Covington, Louisiana on Lake
Pontchartrain’s North Shore, Teaching Responsible Earth Education (T.R.E.E.) is an
organization that provides curriculum based, environmental education to students in
Orleans and adjoining Parishes. Upwards of 50 students in grades 5 and 7 spend 4 to 5 days at T.R.E.E.’s 17-acre training ground. Under the instruction of Sue Brown, the
executive director, and others, the students are exposed to the systems on Earth
through thought provoking activities in the natural environment on site. This engagement creates the impulsion for children to make wiser decisions on how to preserve the diversity of our natural world and to make informed choices to live more lightly on our planet.
Built in the early 1900s, the facilities at T.R.E.E. have worn through the years and have
not been upgraded to accommodate the growing number of students entering the
program. Currently, there are only three functioning shower stalls for use by the
participants during their days-long stay. As well, the septic systems for all the structures (dining hall, bunk house and main residence and office) are in serious need of fundamental repair and enlargement. While the owners make earnest attempts to
maintain the system as is, considering the growth of the program, the need for complete redevelopment of septic and bathing facilities is a must.
As such, the scheme proposed by the Tulane team is to add a new 12-shower
bathhouse, completely renovate the septic system and specify water saving plumbing
fixtures throughout. The two components were developed jointly to enhance the
programs mission and reinforce the formal order at the site. In this case, a large
cleansing pond will take the place of the existing field lines, providing for the students
another teaching tool about natural processes, while alleviating the need for costly
code-mandated sewage equipment. The bathhouse, a standalone building, is located to formalize the student entry to the facilities. The simple form evokes similar qualities of the existing structures, though tweaked in this case to express raised floor plates
required in this flood plane as well as the roofs role in channeling rainwater for use in an entryway didactic water garden.
Jon Tate, Advising Professor
Adriana Camacho, TCC intern
Dan Etheridge, TCC support
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation
Alpha Engineering and Design Limited
Montana State University
Sue E. and Robert L. Brown, T.R.E.E.