SH high school marquee

Project CURB, a community-driven beautification group in South Haven, plans to landscape the area around South Haven High School’s marquee.

The marquee at the entrance to South Haven High School will get a new look this fall when a community-driven beautification group takes on the task of sprucing up the grounds around the large sign.

South Haven Project CURB – which stands for Community Uplifting, Revitalizing and Beautifying – will landscape the area around the marquee, located near the entrance to the high school at Elkenburg and LaGrange streets.

“We’re hopeful to have it started by mid-October,” said Suzanne Loafman, co-founder of Project CURB. “The beautification effort will focus on the northeast lawn of the high school surrounding the electronic marquee, a central focal point of the school and the South Haven community.”

The $4,800 improvement project is a collaboration involving Project CURB, South Haven Public Schools and deBest Inc., landscaping company with grants from the Van Buren Conservation District, Greater South Haven Area Community Foundation and the foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee.

“The design, developed by deBest Inc., will fit the established aesthetics and complement the two other projects on campus,” Loafman said.

Project CURB’s two previous undertakings included the beautification of the outdoor gathering area at the rear entrance to the high school and the landscaped sound reduction berm overlooking LaGrange Street.

The beautification around the marquee will feature plantings that reflect the school colors of purple and gold.

“The landscaping will include 13 Golden Mop False Cypress, five purple Weigela, 13 Russian Sage, one Doublefire Viburnum, five Karl Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass, four, 4- to 5-foot Ledgestone cropping and one Maple Autumn Blaze tree,” Loafman said.

Once the project begins in October, it should take less than a week to be completed.

The marquee beautification project marks the fourth landscaping project South Haven Project CURB has undertaken on school grounds in the South Haven Public School district since forming in 2019.

Student participation

The group not only wants to attract community financial support for its landscaping projects, it also wants student involvement as well, and is doing more to encourage just that.

“We have always hoped to have students involved in the work we are doing because this is their space, and we want to create an environment that appeals to them and that they can be proud of,” said Robyn Henrickson, another co-founder of Project CURB. “COVID-19 put a strain on the level of student participation, but we have been able to work individually and with small groups to execute projects.”

One of those projects involved the creation of a sculpture to the rear entrance of the outdoor gathering space at the high school. The metal sculpture was created by South Haven High School student Zack Emenhiser.

Students have helped in other ways as well.

“The South Haven Rocket Senior football team has volunteered to weed the sports entrance area, which is a great help,” Henrickson said.

In addition a South Haven youth travel baseball team helped clean the high school courtyard several years ago, while a group of adults affiliated with LifeBridge Church helped spruce up the grounds at Baseline Middle School and other school buildings.

Project CURB recently worked with the South Haven Center for the Arts and SHPS to submit a grant that will fund more student-led art projects like Emenhiser’s sculpture.

“We’ve had such a tremendous response from the community regarding Zack’s project. We would love to allow more students to be a part of this effort,” said Kevin Dee, director of Non-Instructional Services for South Haven Public Schools.

Student groups interested in adopting a project can contact South Haven Project CURB by emailing shprojectcurb@gmail.com.

For those interested in partnering with Project CURB, sponsorship details can be found online at shprojectcurb.org/sponsorship. Donations can be made online at shprojectcurb.org or mailed to P.O. Box 131, South Haven, MI 49090.