Elementary school makeover

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Fairview Elementary School undergoes several renovations, courtesy of Deer Creek Motorcoach Resort residents

By Shaina Stockton

GALAX — Fairview Elementary School is looking more spiffy in recent weeks, thanks to monetary donations and labor provided by residents of Deer Creek Motorcoach Resort in Galax.
For the past several weeks, Deer Creek residents have volunteered their efforts with several projects at the school, including playground equipment upgrades, landscaping, new lighting, and plenty of coats of paint applied both inside and outside the building.
Pam Bryant, a member of Deer Creek, says their resort has been involved in annual school projects for the children in the area for the past six years.
When the group approached Fairview School principal Mike Reavis earlier this summer, a short list of projects quickly grew into an overhaul of the school’s appearance, in preparation for the upcoming school year.
“Audrey Marschinke, Joan Stevens and [I] met with Mr. Reavis and were extremely impressed with him and his staff and what they accomplish under circumstances of a 75 year-old building and lack of budget money. [Mr. Reavis] gratefully pointed out where we could help the most,” Bryant said in an email to the newspaper.
In an interview, Principal Reavis said of the initial meeting, “They just walked in and asked, ‘What do you need?’ and after I showed them around, they started working and have just gone all out. It’s been amazing.”
After the first meeting, Deer Creek residents were invited to tour the school and meet the principal; to which more than 20 people from the community responded, according to Bryant. After seeing what the schools needed, 24 residents offered cash donations for the project; and many more volunteered their time.
The project initially consisted of painting and reinforcing the stability of the playground equipment; landscaping around the front of the building; building a sign that directs people to the office entrance; and replacing the stage curtains in the school’s auditorium. When the project began, the school found money in their budget for paint and light fixtures, laying the groundwork for more interior projects.
“An unexpected project led by Bob Stevens and Bob Stephenson and carried out with the help of their crew, has been installing all new overhead lighting in the halls and classrooms,” Bryant said. “Additionally, we have painted classrooms, updated the teachers lounge, striped the parking lot, painted outdoor railings and the large school sign, and removed unsafe playground equipment.”
Volunteers Lee Behrhorst, Donovan Dunlop and a crew of workers tackled the landscaping project out front. The plants were donated by the volunteers as well as their labor. 
The playground equipment has been repaired and re-enforced for maximum safety; and each piece now sports a rainbow of primary colors.
“I love how this turned out. It looks a lot like a box of crayons,” said one  Deer Creek resident during the tour.
Bryant recalled working on the playground equipment one day, when a local family with children walked by. The kids played on finished equipment nearby while they worked on the playground’s gym and slide.
“Everyone around here enjoys this playground, and we wanted to make it special,” Bryant said.
Several members of the group commented on their work, noting that it had become a labor of love. They were excited to see the projects finished; and have been invited by the school to return for a visit when the school year begins.
“Out of our community; around 50 couples have donated their time or their money to this project. We’re so glad that we found the school, and have been able to help them,” Bryant said. “Mr Reavis and the teachers constantly express their gratitude, but we are the ones getting the most pleasure from our efforts.”