200 from Westside church help Holmes teachers move back in

       More than 200 volunteers from the Westside's First Evangelical Free Church poured into Holmes Middle School Aug. 11, cleaning tools in hand.
       The three-hour effort helped teachers prepare for the 2007-08 school year by tidying up classrooms, weeding the grounds and painting buildings.
       Although pastor Brian Kluth pledged that this will be the “first annual” event in which the congregation helps out this way, the need was particularly great this year because of the chaos and dust from Holmes' $3.1 million summer-long renovation project.
       Holmes Principal Brenda LeBrasse expressed gratitude to First Evangelical, which had contacted her as part of its new plan to reach out to the community. “It's really neat,” she said. “There's so much to do, I think the teachers would have been overwhelmed.”
       “We are 112 years old as a church, and we've never done anything like this,” Kluth said. He described it as “being the church instead of going to church.”
       The renovation itself was coming down to the wire this week, with the air conditioning system still being tweaked by contractor White Construction and other parts of the building getting finishing touches. Nevertheless, project manager Rodney Grabow pledged that the school would be ready for students on opening day Aug. 16.
       Coronado High, another school that's had a summer-long renovation, also got volunteer help before the start of school.
       According to Assistant Principal David Engstrom, a 60-strong group of athletes, cheerleaders, other students and adults pitched in the morning of Aug. 10 to move equipment and materials from their storage in the auxiliary gym. The beneficiaries of the volunteer efforts were the science and art areas, both of which had received major upgrades during the summer.
       “It saved us thousands and thousands of dollars [in moving costs],” Engstrom said. “It's a nice reflection of the kids at Coronado.”
       Athletes who helped out were from the school's football, golf and wrestling programs, he said. The largest contingent (34) were from the football team.

Westside Pioneer article