The Finley School District has surpassed its fundraising goal for a $2.8 million state grant aimed at improving facilities for science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, education at River View High School.
The district announced Friday that it reached the $100,000 threshold needed for the grant.
Superintendent Lance Hahn told the Herald that the district actually slightly passed that minimum needed, but did not have exact financial figures available.
“STEM education has been a very important aspect at the elementary level, and to be able to expand into the secondary level will change education forever in the Finley School District,” said Bryan Long, the district’s director of student learning.
The district only has space to teach either chemistry or physics each school year, making it difficult for students wanting to complete both courses before graduation. A dedicated science class for freshmen has to be taught in the school’s career and technical education building or a standard classroom, which limits instruction.
An additional science lab classroom with the latest safety equipment, such as an eyewash station, at the high school, along with a renovated greenhouse and new faculty and storage space, are on the list of projects for the grant.
River View’s greenhouse also would be renovated, and more faculty and storage space built.
District officials learned in the spring that they were one of the grant winners and had worked since then to raise the matching funds needed to receive it.
Those donations didn’t have to be cash — in-kind donations such as equipment for the new science lab, labor for construction, or time as a guest classroom instructor counted toward the total.
The district is still encouraging interested donors to participate in its “buy-a-brick” fundraiser to help with the construction efforts. An engraved brick honoring an individual or business can be purchased for $100 or $250. Those who want to donate can call the district at 509-586-3217.