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Wyoming Scouts Give Elementary Children a Nicer Place to Play

When West Elementary School moved into the former Newhall Middle School building, students inherited a schoolyard never used by children in kindergarten through fourthgrade. The building was vacant for a year after the middle school closed because of district consolidation. Landscaping was needed and the ball diamond needed repair.Members of Boy Scout Troop 352 and Cub Scout Pack 3352 have contributed hundreds of hours to improve the West Elementary School schoolyard

Stepping up to the task was Boy Scout Troops 352, 344 and Cub Scout Pack 3352, led by Wyoming High School freshman James Ching and sophomore Nathan Davis.

The two Eagle Scout candidates took it on as their service project and led dozens of boys in cleaning things up, painting, landscaping and doing brickwork to make the schoolyard look Troop members paint bleachers, part of improving the ball diamondbetter and be a nicer place to play.

While administrators had shuttered Newhall Middle School during the district’s 2012 consolidation, they re-located West Elementary to the school this fall to alleviate overcrowded classrooms.

Getting to Work

James’ project included leveling the school’s baseball diamond and repairing its fence and backstop. Scouts painted and relocated bleachers to the top of the hill beside the diamond for a better view and accessibility.  Also, in back of the school, they planted a natural barrier of trees, fixed fences surrounding the schoolyard, seeded a hill that had become a muddy reservoir from rain and installed a Wyoming Wolves sign. 

James Ching, who is working to earn his Eagle Scout rank, led the project to clean up the schoolyard“It looks a lot nicer than it did before,” said James, who has been involved in scouting for six years. He attended Newhall as a middle-school student.

Wyoming High School sophomore Nathan Davis, who also attended Newhall, brought engraving bricks from the old West Elementary to the new building site to prepare a brick bed. He and troop members removed benches from the front of the school and relocated them to the playground. They laid bricks and built a new mound with boulders, planted shrubbery and installed a howling wolf statue.

“I thought it would be a nice way to help at the school system I went to and help the community,” Nathan said.

West Elementary School Principal Michael Sturm said the scouts’ efforts are appreciated. The area is used for baseball, softball and soccer by Wyoming Middle School.  “It was a mess with weeds, broken bleachers and an ugly fence.  They made it very welcoming, clean and nice for families to enjoy a game,” he said. 

Cub Scouts are working to sell bricks to help fund programs at West Elementary School



Wyoming Public Schools

Boy Scouts of America

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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