North Branch School in Afton celebrated the opening of its “annex” Oct. 23, a second building that adds new classrooms for its upper grades and a computer language lab.
The secular, independent school, founded in 1983, offers preschool through grade 8 and this year has 90 students drawn from the Nelson, Albemarle and Augusta areas. All students at North Branch study Spanish and the school maintains a sister school relationship with a school in Peru. Four of the last nine valedictorians at Nelson County High School had been students at North Branch. Each student’s photo is on the wall at the front door.
Jim Gates of Gates Construction built the annex and Eric Thompson of Earth Star Energy Systems of Waynesboro designed and built its geo-solar heating and cooling system. The heating system uses the school’s well and solar panels on its roof to produce radiant heat efficiently in the building’s floor.
Yale Landsberg of Charlottesville donated a “GreenTyme” clock (which he developed) that gives the time of day in biological—daylight/night—terms. Disruption of the body’s natural clock may contribute to disease, said Landsberg, and the clock was given to make it easier for students to monitor, and even reset, their own natural cycles. An iPhone application of the clock is being developed.