Students and staff at the Richard B. Wilson K-8 School are enjoying their new and improved campus facilities thanks to a $100,000 capital improvements grant from Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. A ribbon-cutting ceremony held last week officially opened the upgraded amenities.

With the grant, Wilson K-8 fixed an area on the playground, which over the years has evolved into a steep, dirt hill. A retention wall, fence, and a ramada with tables were also put in place.

A shade structure was installed to protect some of the playground equipment and its users.

Inside the school, the grant remodeled a room, dubbed the Wrangler Corral, into a more functional space.

In the past, the room was separated from the band room by a collapsible wall; there also was a closet space not being utilized. Now, the room boasts a soundproof wall, new tables, a Smart Board and projector, cabinetry and an open kitchen-counter space. Some extra grant monies were used for new indoor physical education equipment because the room allows for indoor P.E. classes. In the past on hot or rainy days, indoor P.E. classes were held in a common area in the school, which is directly outside classroom doors.

School principal Adrian Hannah knows recent budget cuts at the state and local levels made it nearly impossible for school officials to make capital improvements around Wilson’s campus.

“It’s the way we want it to operate, that you talk about businesses and community members investing in public education,” Hannah said. “That’s what’s going to continue to make public education successful – people being willing to come forward and help us out, like Lowe’s.”

Bill Kelt, the district manager for Lowe’s, brought about a dozen Lowe’s employees who helped with the construction at the school to the ceremony.

“I think it is amazing that we can come in and give money for capital improvements into public education, an area that is truly under-funded and having funding problems at the state and national levels,” Kelt said. “I’m excited to see that they are going to be utilized and the kids are going to benefit just through the learning experiences that they are going to have outside and inside. It adds value to the kids’ educational experiences, I think.”

Amphitheater School Board members Dr. Kent Barrabee and Susan Zibrat were present during for the ribbon-cutting.

“This represents the very best in community effort,” Barrabee said after the ceremony. “It is a win-win-win, and that’s the way it should be.”

The project at Wilson started forming about a year ago. Construction began late December and finished in about two months.

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