Cramped school to get addition

Published 11:24 pm Monday, September 10, 2007

NATCHEZ — After a year of fundraising and planning, the most recent Leadership Natchez class’ project reached fruition when class members broke ground on an addition to Pleasant Acre Day School Monday.

The school for mentally challenged students, mostly adults, was designed for adults and has become cramped, Director Mary Ann Foggo-Eidt said.

“It’s been almost 50 years since anything has been done to the school,” Eidt said to the group of roughly 20 class members and chamber of commerce members. “Thank you so much, each and every one of you, for your support.”

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The addition will serve as a multipurpose building for lunch, activities and projects, most importantly the ongoing Mardi Gras bead recycling, the school’s biggest fundraiser.

“It’ll give us more elbow room and make things run more efficiently,” she said.

The building itself was built in 1959 totally with donated materials and labor, so it was fitting the addition be donated, too, she said.

“It has been a long journey for us, but we’re finally seeing it through,” class co-chair Jaki Robinson said.

Construction, contracted out and paid for with donations, is scheduled to start today. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the addition is scheduled for Oct. 30.

Class member Patricia Lozon said she was excited about the project but a little sad to see the end of the class’ time together.

“It’s going to be so strange in October,” Lozon said. “We’ve spent so much time together working on this. It’s going to be weird when it’s over.”

Leadership Natchez is a Chamber-sponsored event in which classes each year learn about their communities and businesses and choose a community service project to complete.

This year’s class raised more than $20,000 for the project and worked past graduation to see it finished.

Chamber Board Chairman Pat Biglane said he was proud of the class’ accomplishments.

“Y’all really set the bar higher for the incoming class,” he said.