WASHINGTON — Lena Dunn students got to use the library on Monday.
Normally, that would not be news. It was Monday due to an expansive renovation made possible by a former student.
Tom Emmons and his family cut the ribbon on the renovated library Monday while school administrators, teachers and students from the school participated in the celebration.
“It’s fantastic,” Emmons said. “Hopefully this will be something that will entice kids to want to stay in the library, to draw them in there and want them to be in here.”
Emmons is a former student of Lena Dunn who now lives in Houston and works for LINN Energy. He saw Washington’s need on a website, DonorsChoose.org, and then contacted Tara White, a librarian and media specialist for the school.
The two talked, and instead of just donating books, Emmons decided to do a lot more.
“What started as a simple request for books became something that will truly affect their lives and I am truly grateful for that,” White said.
The energy executive lined up donations from his company, Ziegler Cooper architects in Houston and Kimball International in Jasper. Emmons also donated enough funds for the library to purchase new carpeting, shelving, and technology for the library.
Locally, the school corporation received donations from Memering Farms, Hudson Office Supplies and Washington School Board member Peg Stephens. Others, including the Washington High School industrial arts class, donated its time for the library. Construction started in December and many at Monday’s ribbon cutting marveled at the library’s new look.
“The kids have been so excited the past few weeks just watching it come together and it’s just everything we hoped it would be,” White said. “It is just more user friendly for them.”
Lena Dunn Principal Brenda Butcher said the teachers, as well as the students, are very proud and appreciative of Emmons’ gift.