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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Lakeland School benefits from donations

--- Community support upgrades new facility

By Ted Sullivan/The Week

When the new Lakeland School of Walworth County opens for summer school in July, the generosity of the community will be felt throughout the building.

Sure, a pool is nice, but how about a therapy pool for students with physical disabilities? A gymnasium scoreboard is a necessity, but wouldn't it be great to give the kids a first-class wireless scoreboard like those at universities?

Lakeland School's $16 million budget is enough to provide the basics, but donations from area businesses and foundations are what provide the students with the extras, said Tracy Moate, director of special education for Lakeland School.

On Tuesday night, when the Walworth County Board of Supervisors met for their monthly meeting, more than $356,000 was donated to Lakeland School.

The supervisors, two of whom thanked the donors and the school for their outstanding work, voted unanimously to accept the money.

The donations included televisions, scoreboards, a recumbent bicycle, a therapy pool and a voice and data communications system. Many of the items will be used in the new school.

"I think this is another example of the outstanding support for Lakeland School," said Supervisor David Weber, who recently toured the school and called it "outstanding."

Nancy Russell, chair of the board, thanked the donors for supporting the school.

"That's one of the things I really love about Walworth County," she said. "All the people have a really generous heart."

Jim Drescher, president of the Geneva National Foundation, said Lakeland School is extraordinary.

He said the foundation supports organizations that provide help for people with disabilities. He added that people all over the world might someday look at Lakeland School to learn how to build a facility for children with disabilities.

"It's truly amazing," Drescher said.

In recent years, donations have helped the school add new technologies, benches, a courtyard and other perks, Moate said.

"It gives our kids the opportunity to have the extras in life," she said.

The donations for Lakeland School presented at Tuesday's meeting included the following:

--- The Geneva National Foundation donated $257,078 to expand the aquatic center to include a therapy pool.

--- The foundation donated $75,805 to upgrade the voice and data communications system at the new school.

--- The foundation also donated a recumbent bicycle to the school. The bike is worth $4,780.

--- The Friends of Lakeland School and the staff at Lakeland School donated $11,600 to upgrade the televisions at the new school.

--- All American Scoreboards, A.J. Phillips and the Kachel Family Foundation donated two scoreboards to the school. The scoreboards are worth $7,200.

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