A beloved and historic landmark at San Luis Obispo High School is no more.
The “Big Tree,” a towering 85-year-old eucalyptus that has served as a gathering spot for decades, has been cut down — its remains a pile of chopped wood Monday.
San Luis Coastal Unified School District officials said last month that the tree and others would be removed to make way for new buildings, including a student support center and theater. There were other reasons to remove the tree, they said, the eucalyptus was at risk of losing large boughs, endangering children, and the tree’s roots system invaded a sewer pipe.
More than 1,600 tree-lovers signed a petition to save the evergreen hardwood, but their efforts failed.
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Brian Dzukola, the father of a graduate as well as a sophomore at the school, was on campus Monday when he saw the tall stump that was left. He posted photos on Facebook, with the status “feeling sad.”
“I am a high school parent, and I really don’t like the disregard of the history of the tree and what it means to the large number of students who have attended SLO High,” Dzukola said in a message. “It’s sad that the current administration has chosen to place their new building in place of a historical landmark rather than build around it and use it as the landmark it is. Anyone who attended SLO High knows where the Big Tree is!”
Tree-removers faced some fierce opposition when they attempted to cut down oak trees last month, including a neighbor who sat in a tree out of protest and found solidarity from others. Despite their efforts, some oak trees were removed last month.
The time line given by the district for removal of the Big Tree was vague.
“I honestly don’t think anyone knew when it was coming down,” Dzukola said.