Over the last few years there have been discussions among New Haven citizens about how to best expand. We've created and discarded plan after plan as circumstances change, but one constant that we've always seen as a necessity is taking over the abandoned schools not far from here. We've housed people there before but without a solid perimeter around them--a wall, in other words--we've felt it was too dangerous to keep any sizable population there.
That has changed. With autumn making its way in and winter sure to come early and hard, we need to make room for the rest of our new arrivals. It's not an option any more. The good news is that most of the work is already done; the schools have had their windows reinforced or replaced to make them secure and they're stocked up with supplies. They're one of the places we use as a dump site for extra stuff we gather so there won't be a lack of candles, blankets, and the like.
The rough part is going to be that lack of a wall. The football and baseball fields have fences around them and with the right effort can be made very secure. Since there's a small parking lot that houses a bunch of school buses, we'll start there. Using the buses to reinforce the football field's fence is step one in turning it into an enclosed area for farming in the spring.
Ideally we'd like to construct a wall that connects the big island of land the three schools sit on to the rest of New Haven proper, but that just isn't feasible yet. Instead we're going to move people in fairly soon and focus on putting up just enough barriers to keep the buildings themselves secure. Using the walls of the schools themselves as part of the barrier will save us time and material and allow us to give at least a moderately sized space between them as a sort of courtyard.
This will have the effect of creating a small community separate from us. They won't be in the social sense, but physically there will be uncovered ground in between. It's only a few hundred feet, but in an emergency that can matter a lot.
That's the plan for the rest of the expansion. Between the grade school, middle school, and high school we could house somewhere around three or four thousand people. There's a lot of space. And that's a comfortable number. If need be we could squeeze in a whole lot more, though that probably wouldn't be a lot of fun.
Which reminds me that I've been promising to tell you what the sections of New Haven will be called for the sake of easy reference. The original New Haven, made up from my old neighborhood, is designated as Central. The western expansion (made up of all the shipping containers) is West (duh).
The annex used for farming is still going to be called the annex, the eastern expansion connected to it and sprawling east and south beyond it is called East. The schools don't yet have an official super-cool name of their own, but given they're to the east and we've already used that one, my guess is we'll just call them the schools or something like that. It's easy.
I know, we didn't exactly shoot for the moon when naming things, but this way is simple and informative. My hope is that when the new waves of settlers make it here from the north we'll be set to put them to work. Without the possibility of much farming--though Jess has a few ideas on how to do some of that during the winter--we're hoping to utilize that huge workforce into salvaging enough materials to make headway on a much larger and more encompassing wall. Covering those few hundred feet is important to us. If we can't do it before winter, then at least we can try to get a head start on the project so it'll be an easy job come spring.
That's all I have for today. I've been talking with Pat and Will about this all night. I need a good, long nap.