SOUTH HAVEN — Earlier this year a new organization dedicated to making outdoor aesthetic improvements at South Haven schools made landscaping improvements to the entrance of Lincoln Elementary School and the school’s main outdoor sign.
Now, South Haven Project CURB (community uplifting, revitalizing and beautifying) is turning its attention to a much more ambitious project – improving the curb appeal all the way around South Haven High School.
The organization’s plans for the high school got the approval of South Haven Board of Education members earlier this month, allowing it to proceed with efforts to fine-tune its proposal and begin fundraising efforts.
The conceptual plan, developed in partnership with South Haven Public Schools and DeBest Inc. landscaping company, targets 11 areas around the building to enhance with landscaping, new signage and more Ram mascot statues. Plans also call for creation of a student art garden, a student gathering area, new trees, space for student event banners, a sound-reduction earth berm facing LaGrange Street, plus an additional welcome sign at the rear entrance of the building.
“We wanted to develop a comprehensive property plan and get it approved so that anyone at any time could quickly and easily take on a project to implement or sponsor,” said Kevin Dee, director of non-instructional services for the district.
Now that the property plan is complete, the group is working with acting high school principal Ryan Williamson to identify teachers, staff, student groups and school and community organizations that may be able to add more life to the plan or assist with implementing the projects.
“We are going to take the plan to those who can add insight into how to maximize use of proposed spaces and to groups that may be interested or able to help execute projects,” Williams said. “Being involved with a project on this scale creates a sense of ownership and pride and can provide great learning opportunities and experiences for our students, especially those in our art, engineering, design and vocational studies departments.”
In the meantime, South Haven Project CURB will launch efforts to raise money for the spring projects, according to Suzanne Sutherland Loafman, co-founder of Project CURB.
“We are motivated by the recent collaborative efforts we’ve seen in the community and are confident we will get the support we need to complete a few projects this spring,” she said. “This is a plan that will benefit the entire community as we all benefit from our schools’ success. Our goal is to make this a communitywide initiative, involving students, staff and the community as much as possible.”
Project CURB was formed following $36 million worth of improvements made to district buildings – notably the high school – several years ago.