The Beaver Dam High School Beautification Project is underway having had their official groundbreaking on Tuesday, May 31.
The project is a combined effort with Mesquite Rotary, Kokopelli Landscaping and Star Nursery putting forth momentum, muscle and matter.
The project is funded by the Mesquite Rotary Club and their annual Mudd Volleyball games. The concept for a project originally came from the students about four and a half years ago when Linda Gault, active Rotary member and Mesquite Secretary, began the Interact Club in the Beaver Dam High School.
Gault asked the students what they wanted. Nearly all the students said they would like a park and so began the ‘Mudd Volleyball” tournaments that would eventually fund it. Things were going well on the fundraising side of things and plans were being made to build the park on the Beaver Dam Elementary School property with the permission of the school.
The project took a turn about a year ago when Gault was approached by Littlefield/Beaver Dam United School District Superintendent and High School Principal Mark Coleman about a different type of project.
Coleman explained to Gault that he was planning on retiring from the school district in 2016 and he would really like to leave the school with a beautification project completed in the front of the school. He wanted the front of the high school, which sits on a high hill overlooking the town, to be something inviting and for the students and staff to be proud of. Gault took the idea back to the Rotary Club and they voted to change the project and fund the beautification of the front of the high school instead.
Presently the hill in front of the school parking lot houses a memorial that includes a large bell but little else. There is virtually no landscaping from the parking lot to the baseball field that sits below the hill. The hill is eroding with each rain fall and creates a problem with debris ending up on the ballfield.
Gault contacted Kokopelli Landscaping’s Shane Hughes and asked for his help on the project because as Rotary President Keith Burkhalter said, “They’re the best and they know what they’re doing.” Kokopelli will be completing all the ground work like digging, trenching and stabilizing the hillside. They also took care of the landscaping design.
After Kokopelli jumped onboard Gault contacted Star Nursery who was also glad to pitch in and donate over 160 plants in five gallon containers that will be planted on the hillside and around the bell up to the parking lot. The plants will build strong root systems to help stop the erosion.
Careful planning went into the project which has taken just under a year. When Rotary President Burkhalter first took office he said he would support this project and see it to fruition before the end of his year-long term. Groundbreaking took place a month before his presidency ends.
Burkhalter attended the groundbreaking ceremony with a great deal of pride and satisfaction. He said, “I didn’t have much to do with the project other than fully support it and the fundraising efforts to get here. Linda has done the work but I’m glad to see it happen before my time in office ends. We put a lot of consideration into this project so that what will be created is both beautiful and low maintenance. We didn’t want to increase the cost of maintenance for anyone but we want it to be a source of pride for the school, its students and the community. The companies that joined us in the project are top notch and we couldn’t do it without them. It shows what great character these companies possess by embracing this area as part of their local community and donating time and material to help beautify it.”
Hughes and project foreman Juan Soto estimate the project will be complete in two weeks barring any unforeseen circumstances such as weather or finding buried treasure.
The design includes shade trees, picnic benches and a park like setting for the entire community to enjoy without restriction. Burkhalter and Gault both said it will be a gathering place that has many uses for the entire community whether enjoying a sporting event held at the school, outdoor classes or a family picnic.
The grounds will be maintained by the school but Interact Club members will do their part in helping to maintain the area as well.
The project will not only make a huge difference to the school but to the community. “When you drive up highway 91 into Beaver Dam the school won’t look so much like an institution or a prison,” remarked someone in the crowd.
Rotary Members, Interact Club Members, Gault, Burkhalter, Kokopelli Landscaping, Star Nursery and all the participants who played in the mud for the past four years were determined to make it a beacon that shines over the town and fills the community with a sense of pride and a comfortable, beautiful place to relax, have fun and enjoy.