By Kim West
When the new Athens-Limestone Public Library opens in late summer or early fall, a gleaming donor wall will greet visitors as they enter the spacious lobby.
The wall is being installed to commemorate high-dollar donors, but library officials said they are also thankful for the many smaller monetary amounts contributed to the library’s ongoing capital campaign.
To this end, the ALPL Foundation board recently recognized the joint fundraising efforts of dozens of elementary classes and TRAIL, or Together Renewing and Improving Limestone, to contribute $1,037 to the new library.
TRAIL, which has 20 city and county students in grades 8-12, spearheaded the change-jar project known as Nickels for Knowledge.
Each K-2 class in the Athens and Limestone school systems received a jar decorated with its school mascot to collect change, and the winning class from each school received a popcorn-and-juice party for collecting the most change.
In addition to a party, the winning class from the city and county school systems will be honored with a class photograph to be displayed in the new library.
The third-grade class taught by Emilie Allen from Creekside Elementary School claimed top honors in the county fundraising contest, while the Alison Hogan’s kindergarten class at Julian Newman Elementary School won the city competition.
TRAIL sponsor Susan Wales said Dekko founded the student service organization 15 years ago because it “had an interest in our community due to (its) Ardmore plant.”
She said TRAIL members “volunteer their time, talents and treasure to benefit the youth of Limestone County via community service and grants.”
Wales said the Dekko Foundation provides TRAIL the funding necessary to offer grants beneficial to local youths, with the student volunteers working in tandem with the Spirit of Athens, Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful and other community organizations on various service projects.
Project officials said the Phase I exterior, which began in June 2013 in the former Kroger’s on South Jefferson Street, has been completed and is now awaiting the start of the Phase II interior.
Upon approval of the bids by the construction committee, City Council and County Commission, the interior work is expected to begin in March, and project manager Kerrick Whisenant said the library is scheduled to be complete by June.
Library Director Paula Laurita said she is hoping for a possible grand opening in August if furnishings are finalized and inventory can be moved over in July.