By John Schaffner

It took Martin Connell a full year to raise $4,000 and wend his way through various City of Atlanta bureaucracies to build his Eagle Scout project at Chastain Park. But it took him just two full weekends and the help of as many as 10 of his fellow Lovett School classmates to complete the weather shelter and bus stop.

Connell is a member of Eagle Scout Troop 304, which is chartered by Lovett School and its members have done several of their “Eagle Leadership Service Projects” for the Chastain Park Conservancy. This project was constructed at the corner of Powers Ferry Road and Stella Drive, at one of the parking lots for the Chastain Amphitheater.

The 17-year-old junior at Lovett School, had more than a little help from his father, Mark Connell, his junior classmates and Eagle Scouts from Lovett, and even his sister Kathleen and mother Pamela along the year-long journey to the construction over the week of Nov. 6-11 and the weekend of Nov. 17 and 18.

His father, who is an architect, helped his son develop the plans for the weather shelter and bus stop, which fits in with the rest of the architecture in and around Chastain Park.

Martin Connell then had to do a write-up for the project, which he would use to make presentations to the Chastain Park Conservancy, the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, go through the process of getting a building permit from the city, and make a formal presentation before the city’s Urban Design Commission in order to get permission to do the project. He started the process in the summer of 2006.

“The write-up process was painstaking,” Connell said. “Once we started building the project it was more enjoyable.”

The scouts started by digging the three-foot-square holes for the supporting posts on Tuesday, Nov. 6, stained the materials on Thursday, Nov. 8 and constructed the major part of the shelter over that Saturday and Sunday. They were back on the job on the following Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17 and 18, to put on the roofing shingles and complete any final touch-up work.

The Connells live in the Morningside area of Atlanta, but most of the boys who worked on the project with Martin all live in Buckhead and they all are juniors at the Lovett School.

Among those who helped Connell with the project were Lovett juniors Daniel Domanico, Hudson Vincent, Thomas MacDonald, Wright Hilsman and Alex Reese. Dr. Don Chambers is the Eagle Scout advisor at Lovett.

Connell raised $4,000 for the project to purchase materials and also to hire Scott McPherson of McPherson Enterprises as the general contractor on the project and to help set the big posts that support the shelter’s roof and to cut the timbers to size. Part of the money also went toward hiring a crane to assist with the heavy lifting and placing of the support posts and roof frame.

The cedar for the project was donated by Norcross Building Supply, the company that burned to the ground just as the building of the shelter was getting underway.

Perched on ladders, sporting their brand new carpenter’s belts, hammers, etc., the scouts tackled every aspect of the construction work, under the watchful eyes of McPherson and Martin’s father and with more than a few pointers on how to proceed with the work

Connell, who will be a 2009 graduate of Lovett, said he is thinking of becoming an architect or an engineer. He certainly got a taste of those two professions working on this project.