Volunteers respond to NEVC school repair needs
Old paint was flying and new paint drying at Northeast Vernon County School at Walker, where voters' reluctance to finance a $3.5 million school construction project has motivated people to take matters into their own hands.
Twenty-five volunteers, many of them NEVC alumni, turned out Saturday to grind up a long two-foot-wide strip of paint at the south end of the gymnasium and put new paint down.
Preparing for Friday night's homecoming, they also painted the coaches' office and referees' dressing room, fixed stage curtain hooks and pulleys, cleaned glass backboards, spruced up windowshades and filled cracks in the walls and edges of the gym floor.
"We've climbed mountains getting this building ready to roll," said school custodian Cheryl Bogardus Tuesday. "We pretty much accomplished all the major stuff. Next we'll replace the door latches and shower curtains and put sensor lights outside to make it nicer.
"Andy Hays and Jered Burch went and got electric sanders because paint remover and heat guns wouldn't get the old industrial epoxy paint up."
Bogardus said the volunteers will eventually pour new concrete and straighten the knee-high metal poles in the parking lot, where the ground was too cold to complete the project at this time.
The NEVC school board is also considering hiring a company to reroof the high school and install new windows, wiring and lighting there because its attempt to pass a levy and build a K-12 school at Harwood was defeated for the third time Aug. 3.
Bogardus and 1971 alumnus Alberta Hays, who graduated when it was Walker High School, say their next chore with the advent of warm weather this spring will be at NEVC's elementary school at Schell City.
Seventh through 12th grade students are educated in Walker while kindergarten through sixth grade kids study 15 miles northeast of there at Schell City, whose maintenance man, Tom McCoy, had already done "all the ladder work" and repainted the Walker campus gymnasium walls from floor to ceiling, Bogardus noted.
"Both communities have come together and it's amazing what we've been able to accomplish," she said.
Hays said the crew "didn't sit down very often.
"We broke for lunch and took one break in the afternoon," she said. "Not everything on the list was done, but it was close.
"We're not sure when our next work day will be as it will mainly be outside fixing the elementary school playground area and fence to keep the dogs out and making the playground equipment safer. We can't have a new school, so we're going to fix these up."
Hays said the volunteers also will work on the entrance to the Schell City school grounds.
Others who pitched in Saturday were Drue Hoagland, David and Taylor Highfill, Tori Stutzman, John and Jeannie Hoagland, Grady Davis, Ron Pence, David and Michelle Bruce, Donna Berry, Glen Hays, Neoma Foreman, Corey and Christine Graham, Crystal and Kate Burch and Winkie Smith.