What was once frail, crisp grass patterned between the end zones with pot holes pimpled between the worn sand-track that encompasses Arnold Middle School's practice football field is now leveled with sand and features a wider, raked track.
Cy-Fair High School sophomore and member of Boy Scout troop no. 519 Nico Scala concluded a weekend project to refurbish the campus' football field this past Saturday.
Scala's project ended a year-long process of gathering sponsors and donations from the community. He proposed his renovation to Arnold Middle School's principal Vicki Snokhous, along with Scout Leader Nick Kapapos, in order to achieve his Eagle Scout rank—the Boy Scouts of America's highest rank, which requires scouts to achieve 21 merit badges and complete a service project.
Scala said the middle school's football field became a priority due to the community sports that utilize the field, including his dad, Joe Scala, who holds football practices during the fall.
"That field gets used by all students and the community," Snokhous said. "It took a lot of time to gather the man power and the funds to do it. He had to coordinate with our facilities and get permission from our district to do it."
Since May 2012, Scala raised $6,000 in donations from local businesses and organizations including, H-E-B, Stone Gate Home Owners Association, Lone Star Provisions Inc. and Land Tejas. Local residential and commercial landscaping company, Hou-Scape, donated equipment and machines for Scala's renovation.
Preceding construction, Stone Gate HOA Vice President Robert Partin presented Scala with a $3,500 check on behalf of the Stone Gate Adopt-a-School program.
Accompanied by friends and volunteers, Scala broke ground on the project at 7 a.m. and worked until 3 p.m., widening the 400 meter track and spreading dirt to level the practice field located off Hwy. 290 and Telge Road.
During the planning phase, Scala initially designed to construct a granite track around the practice field in place of the sand path, but with a projected additional $7,000 needed to lay the granite, as advised by the project's landscaper, Scala bypassed acquiring the extra funds and concentrated on widening the existing track's path.
From Saturday's restorations, Scala said the effects of the construction—with proper maintenance—will last for several years. Currently, volunteers are manually watering the field to help the freshly laid dirt settle. Students are asked to keep off the field for the rest of the semester, Snokhous said. Mowing and watering the field will be maintained by Buccaneer's coach Blake Fisher during the summer and the upcoming fall semester leading up to football season.
Snokhous said she and her students are grateful for Scala's work and are excited to utilize the field next year.
"It's just kind of what schools are built on—a partnership with the school, community and parents," Snokhous said. "He comes from a great family and has a great mom and dad who do a lot themselves."