by Brendan Sample

After breaking ground on the site last year, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy is set to officially open its new lower school building for the start of the upcoming school year. This news was confirmed at the latest meeting of the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s board on Thursday, Aug. 22.

Jenny McHugh, SCH director of development and an at-large board member, was on hand to provide further details about the McCausland Lower School & Commons building.

While some aspects of it still need to be worked on and finalized through September, the building is ultimately in a good working condition for students and teachers to use. McHugh also suggested having the next CHCA meeting there, as the board currently holds its meetings at Springside’s Wissahickon Inn building.

The CHCA also voted to officially support the variance for a Bahia Bowls takeout restaurant on 8136 Germantown Ave. The applicants for the açaí bowl and smoothie shop will go before the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment on Wednesday, Sept. 11, to seek a variance to rezone their desired property for commercial use. They will look to restore the original facade of the building, with other provisos regarding normal upkeep still in place after previous zoning meetings.

Executive director Anne McNiff confirmed that CHCA members will have the option to automatically renew their memberships in the near future. The organization has received numerous requests to add that option, which McNiff hopes to have fully in place by the start of 2020. She also reminded the board that the community association is still looking for a new membership coordinator, and to let her know of anyone who would be interested in the position.

As it did last month, the board went into a closed executive session at the end of the meeting to discuss membership strategic planning.

The next CHCA board of directors meeting is set for at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26. Brendan Sample can be reached at or 215-248-8819.