When the rebuilt University Park Elementary School opens next year, it will include space for a familiar long-time guest.
Highland Park ISD made sure to allocate space in the new facility for Boy Scouts of America Troop 70, continuing a relationship that spans more than 87 years.
“[The district administrators] were very accommodative of us, and we are really appreciative of that,” Charles Moore said.
Moore has been involved with the troop in various roles since he first became a Boy Scout in 1962.
While a number of Boy Scout troops call the Park Cities home, Troop 70 is the only one still affiliated with a public school.
Its charter was issued in 1930, only two decades after the Scouting movement began in the United States.
During the late 1940s, rooms were added to the north wall of the boys’ gym at the old UP Elementary campus.
The upstairs part of this room, known as “Topside,” was used by the troop. Scouts held meetings and stored equipment there.
They could even access the room from an outside fire staircase.
That arrangement continued until 1993, when the school reclaimed a large part of Topside for storage, leaving a much smaller space for the Scouts. The space was still large enough to display a picture of nearly every Eagle Scout in the troop’s history, a number that has grown to 487.
When district officials began making plans for the new school, Holmes and other troop officials met with them in hopes of continuing the relationship with UP Elementary at its new campus.
“We invited them to the facilities, showed them the photos and some of prominent folks, and told the troop story,” Holmes said. “They came back and said, ‘We’d like to keep this, and we’d like to work with you as best we can.’”
Over the years, Troop 70 came to be known as the “Jamboree Troop” because of its goal to send youths to every national Scout Jamboree, an event that occurs every four years.
The troop pays half the cost for each Scout to go with money raised through annual Christmas greenery sales.
“It’s an experience where you can take young boys out in an environment that they are not familiar with and teach them how to do all of these things,” Holmes said.
Holmes now has the Eagle photos in storage, but he is looking forward to unpacking them in their new home.