This blog is being created to share news about the Seaside Institute’s proposed project for the Seaside Lyceum currently known as Seaside Academic Village. Lots of questions have been raised about the plan, the programming and the cottages, and we are hoping that this blog will help to answer some of those questions and provide some background about how this idea came to be. I hope that others will post questions, which I will try to answer to the best of my ability, but, until then, I intend to offer up short bits about different aspects of the project each day.
The idea for an academic village in Seaside began decades ago when Robert and Daryl Davis were founding the town. It has been their hope that Seaside could provide a center for higher thinking and education and, to that end, a space was reserved in the masterplan for the Lyceum. Given a prominent location near the center of town, the Lyceum began as a horseshoe-shaped parcel of land located just to the west of town and filled from one end to the other with trees and brush (see photo by Michael Moran below).
In November 1998, the concept for this space was formalized in a document called the Seaside Lyceum Declaraton of Easements, Covenants and Restrictions. This document states, “The Lyceum is primarily intended as a group of schools, lecture halls, auditorium, meeting rooms, and offices and other support facilities for those uses, including related housing.”
Just prior to that document being filed, the Seaside Neighborhood School was created and located in the Lyceum. Established in 1996, Seaside Neighborhood School is one of Florida’s first charter schools in Walton County, Fla., and serves sixth through eighth grade students. The initial classes were held in two metal temporary structures on the lawn; however, funds were eventually raised to for a permanent structure providing Seaside with its first large civic building.
For those who are not familiar, the Seaside Neighborhood School building (at left) also provide offices for several nonprofit organizations in Seaside — The Seaside Institute, Escape to Create, 30-A Radio and the Seaside Repertory Theater (REP). The school building faces a very large green area that the students in the school use for playing, the town uses for various cultural events and residents use to take walks and enjoy the wonderful space.
At the far northern end of the Lyceum, there is a cluster of vegetation (both trees and scrub brush) that borders the half circle. This treed area is about 70 feet in width, though it varies from one end to the other. See image below. It is into the treed area that the cottages would be inserted to create the Academic Village. None of the open green space would be used.