Neohumanist College of Asheville, North Carolina, USA
By Ellen Landau
Neohumanist College of Asheville (NHCA), AMGK’s first hub for a “college without walls” for Neohumanist Education, is located on 33 acres of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains, north of Asheville, North Carolina. The “without walls” approach of the college is made possible by a higher education team that supports a blend of a distance learning and a mentoring model that will coordinate courses developed by a global AMGK faculty. This global campus that can offer online learning will be coordinated from several hubs in the future, and mentoring will be accomplished at sites where we have the faculty to offer supervision of practicum experiences and action learning projects.
Construction of NHCA began in November 2017, with the building of a metal pole barn to house construction materials. Before we could build the barn, we needed a road and a bridge to the site. The road, bridge and barn were completed in June of 2018 with the installation of a concrete floor and lighting fixtures, for a total cost of $54,500.
During that time, we spent days digging large pits in the ground on a ridge high above, searching for an area whose soil would percolate (perk) for sewage water. Fourteen pits were dug and tested before an area for a septic field was finally accepted by the county and in June permits were issued. The soil of the field was so fragile, the septic field had to be dug by hand.
The foundation was laid for the construction of a structure high above on a ridge, upon which were placed two 40-foot geodesic domes. The cold winter in the mountains of North Carolina slowed the work, but the promise of this spring brought us the services of the master carpenter we needed to complete the complex work of framing walls inside of the two shells, which are made up of complicated compound angles.
One day in March a big drilling rig made its way up the mountain, bound to find a water source for the College. The drill was set up on a land basin situated between two ridges on the mountainside. A few hours later, 425 feet below the surface, the drill bit struck a vein of water in granite rock that flowed to the surface at a rate of 35 gallons a minute, more than sufficient for the dome complex.
The initial donation of 33 acres of land is valued at $390,000. The total cost of the initial phase of construction, including the barn, infrastructure (roads, bridges), administrative building (dome #1), and classroom/lecture hall/meditation hall/distance learning lab (dome #2) is $500,000. As of December 31, 2018, we have spent $280,500 in cement, sand, gravel, wood, and now water. Up next is the roofing and siding, electrical installation, gas tanks, heating/cooling systems, insulation, sheet rock, flooring, more plumbing and then appliances.
One of our favorite projects is the long-distance learning lab in dome #2. We will be installing a grid from which to hang lighting fixtures for videotaping lectures to be streamed online, in addition to computer systems for their broadcast.
We need to raise an additional $240,000 to complete the project and open for the business of training teachers in the philosophy and implemental of Neohumanist education principles around the globe. If you are interested in supporting the Neohumanist College of Asheville, or want to become involved in the development of a Neohumanist curriculum which includes not only education, but also PROUT, intuitional sciences, medicine, psychology, art/music and agricultural sciences, contact: Ellen Landau (Shivapriya) at email@example.com or Sid Jordan (Vishvamitra) at Sid.Jordan1@gmail.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.