Principal Lezlie Harris of Cohutta Elementary School along with Cohutta Mayor Ron Shinnick and members of the Town Council and the Cohutta Ruritan Club met for dinner and to formally accept and recognize the completion of a new outdoor classroom space for the school.

The classroom is on a patio near the gymnasium and consists of four octagon-shaped picnic tables along with two mobile dry-erase marker boards. It was completed as an Eagle Scout service project by Cael Poston of Troop 89 from Tunnel Hill.

Last fall, Cael presented his proposal to the Town Council and to the Ruritan Club, who both agreed to contribute financially to the project. With those funds, and with generous contributions of and discounts on materials from Junior's Building Materials in Ringgold, Cline Lumber Co. in Varnell and the Dalton Home Depot, Cael and other scouts from Troop 89 were able to complete the project on budget.

The tables and marker boards are mobile, allowing the school to reconfigure the classroom space as needed. Each table seats eight students in a normal configuration but two of the tables can also be configured to allow for wheelchair-accessible seating. Cael and his volunteers put more than 250 man-hours into completion of the project.

"Our students and staff look forward to using this outdoor classroom space, especially during this year when social distancing is so important," said Harris. "Having another opportunity to learn outside is really beneficial to our students."

Shinnick appreciated the work that was done to benefit the community.

"We were all so impressed with what Cael has done for his Eagle project," he said. "The craftsmanship and quality of work that went into building the tables was outstanding."

Ruritan Club President Todd Johnson stated, "Our club welcomes being a part of such creative scout projects benefiting Cohutta School. We thank the Postons and Principal Harris for making us a part of the outdoor classroom solution."

With the project behind him, Cael is working on completing his final merit badges and expects to earn the rank of Eagle Scout sometime next year. Cael is a junior at Northwest Whitfield High School.

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