Boy Scout builds outdoor classroom for Eagle Scout project
By John Battiston, Loudoun Times-Mirror
For his Eagle Scout project, Grant Newcomb of Ashburn’s Boy Scout Troop 997 decided to leave a legacy at his childhood school by building an outdoor classroom.
“I wanted to make something that would last a very, very long time and would leave my impact there,” he said of his project at Discovery Elementary School in Ashburn.
Newcomb, now a junior at Broad Run High School, said he first came up with the idea of an outdoor classroom for Discovery’s center courtyard two years ago.
As it turned out, the school already had previously come up with a budget for an outdoor classroom and made calls for ideas for the classroom’s design.
However, the school’s outdoor classroom was never brought to fruition, according to Newcomb’s father, Rich Newcomb.
“So when Grant showed up and said, ‘Hey, we’d like to do an outdoor classroom,’ they were very excited that they had a path forward,” Rich Newcomb said.
After a six-month planning period, Grant Newcomb enlisted the help of fellow scouts as well as friends from his neighborhood and workplace to start building earlier this month.
Close to 400 volunteer hours went into the project, he predicted. He said the school’s parent-teacher organization is providing the project’s funding.
Over a two-week period, the project team dug holes in the school courtyard, poured in concrete, then built nine wooden benches and a stage to be placed into the holes.
The stage includes a weatherproof whiteboard that any school instructor can use to teach a class on a particularly nice day.
Grant Newcomb said he also hopes the space will help teachers educate students on Leave No Trace and The Outdoor Code — two very important practices for him and other scouts.
“This project will definitely leave a very positive impact here,” he said. “It gives kids a good space where they can learn and be outside, so they’re not cooped up in their classrooms all day.”