ACS alternative school begins year with new look

Alabaster Lowe’s employees celebrate the completion of their project to update the Alabaster alternative school building. (Contributed)

Alabaster Lowe’s employees celebrate the completion of their project to update the Alabaster alternative school building. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – When Alabaster’s Lowe’s home improvement store began searching for an organization to help with its “Lowe’s Heroes” project this year, it didn’t have to look far, said the store’s assistant manager.

“We award a grant each year to support local schools and organizations, and this year we wanted to help a local organization,” said store Assistant Manager Clifford DuBose. “We approached the school system, and they referred us to the alternative school. They told us what they needed, and we knew we could help them out.”

As a result, the alternative school began the 2016-2017 academic year with a whole new look.

This summer, former Thompson High School assistant principal Angela McKnight applied for and was hired for a new role as the alternative school’s administrator. One of her first tasks was working with Lowe’s to complete several updates and renovations to the aging building on 11th Avenue Southwest, which housed the Developing Alabama Youth Program for many years before the Alabaster City School System was formed.

When the Lowe’s crew arrived at the school in July, it identified several areas in need of improvement, DuBose said. During the four-day project, a total of 21 Alabaster Lowe’s employees spent time at the school repainting, adding new ceiling tiles, installing new blinds, adding new picnic tables and a basketball goal, among other improvements. Because of the Lowe’s grant, the upgrades came at no cost to ACS.

“It turned out really good,” DuBose said. “We were thrilled at how our team really came together to make this happen.”

The Lowe’s group raised $800 to stock the alternative school’s food pantry with food and toiletry items for students in need to use while they are not at the school. (Contributed)

The Lowe’s group raised $800 to stock the alternative school’s food pantry with food and toiletry items for students in need to use while they are not at the school. (Contributed)

In addition to completing the upgrades, the Lowe’s employees also took it upon themselves to collect money to stock the alternative school with food and toiletry items to help students in need. In only a few days, the employees collected $800 to ensure the school was well-stocked for the new year.

“Some of the kids who go to the alternative school may have a need for those items,” DuBose said. “Some of them may go home at night or on the weekends without anything to eat, so we wanted to help out.”

DuBose was quick to shine the spotlight on his coworkers for their efforts in competing the project.

“We really had a great group, and I give them all the credit,” DuBose said. “It’s just a really cool thing we were able to do.”