Clearing for a campus |

Clearing for a campus

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunRafael Rodriguez stacks tree limbs at the site of Sierra College's new campus on Friday. The college is working with the Truckee Donner Land Trust to minimize the visual and physical impacts of the new campus.

Construction on the Sierra College campus in Truckee is moving along with a timber harvest of the property.

Last week a crew started cutting down pine trees to be hauled off to timber mills in Lincoln and Quincy. The timber harvest will affect less than 25 percent of the existing trees on the 72-acre parcel, said Rob Koster, Sierra College Truckee campus project manager.

The current work comes after more than a year of planning and a completed environmental impact report.

The Truckee Donner Land Trust has worked with Sierra College to minimize visual and physical impacts of the new campus. The goal is to ensure a minimum number of trees are cut down, said Perry Norris, the land trust’s executive director.

Koster said he walked the property with representatives from the land trust, the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation and a forester to determine which trees would be cut. Several smaller pines and some densely wooded areas were marked with blue tape, indicating they would be cut down for forest fire safety, Koster said.

“We’re only disturbing what we need to disturb for phase one,” Koster said.

Norris said he agreed that some of the trees needed to be cut down to improve forest health.

The future campus site is on McIver Hill, located at Highway 89 south across from the Shell gas station. On top of McIver Hill, also called “Hippie Hill,” sits a 100-foot by 200-foot open area where a 28,000-square-foot, two-story building will be constructed next summer, Koster said.

The location of the first building was negotiated by the land trust so it will be situated between two small hills on either side, Norris said, thus making the campus less visible.

A water line has to be built and installed at the site before more extensive work can begin in July 2007, Koster said, but removing some of the trees this fall is an important first step in the building process.

The acreage also includes a conservation easement acquired by the land trust.

Thirty-nine acres of land is set aside for open space, hiking and biking trails and other public use.

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