Project Makeover: Sidney Lanier Edition
GAINESVILLE - Think about the smell of crayons or new books, and what that meant during your childhood. It brings back memories of the classroom, a second home for many kids. One local organization is coming together to create a more a welcoming environment-- one school at a time.
A University of Florida student founded Project Makeover in 2008. It's based on the popular show-- extreme makeover. Today the tradition continues as the Sidney Lanier Center gets a facelift.
Painting murals— check, landscaping—check, organizing books— check. These are some of the things on the to-do list, for Sidney Lanier's big transformation. Project Makeover is a student-run non-profit that beautifies one school a year, this year Sidney Lanier was chosen.
Courtney Miller the Executive Director for Project Makeover said, "So this year we are actually over $12,000 have been raised. So that's really exciting. And that's kind of a reason why we're able to do so many things all over the school. And we're really lucky a lot of that came from donations from sponsors and things like that."
Sidney Lanier center provides special education to students Pre-K through 12th grade. Project makeover has been planning this renovation for a year now. Maggie Doerr the Project Manager for Project Makeover said, "My grandma was a teacher for over forty years so I've always been a strong supporter of our education system and I've also volunteered a lot in the past with students with disabilities. This year I am volunteering with the ark of Alachua County, it's just something close to my heart."
The goal is to brighten up the school. Volunteers created a rain garden and painted more than 60 murals inside and out. They also built a sensory garden which was created for special needs students so that they can feel touch and smell the garden.
"Sidney Lanier accommodates special needs students here so the sensory garden is wheelchair accessible... They'll be able to go around kind of in a circle and see things, hear things... There's a lot to kind of touch and see and that's something really exciting this year," Miller said.
Every school gets a dream project. Teachers and administrators take part in giving ideas based on what the school needs. This year's dream project was the library and media center.
"So we gave the preschoolers a new reading room because they didn't have an area for the library.... So we're giving them a jungle themed reading room with new books, new shelves, new seating areas, new mats, a brand new jungle mural and some more games," Doerr said.
Project Makeover also received over 100 pre-school books in donations. The big reveal for students will happen Monday morning.
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