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Wheelchair-accessible garden destroyed by tornado in El Reno gets new grant funding

A grant was reissued by Lowe's after a wheelchair-accessible garden at Canadian Valley Technology Center was destroyed along with much of the El Reno r campus.
BY BILL KRAMER Published: July 6, 2013
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— A $9,050 grant awarded earlier this year to Canadian Valley Technology Center by The Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation has been re-awarded in the wake of the May 31 tornado.

Storms destroyed most of the El Reno campus, including a wheelchair-accessible garden that was a multiyear project in Canadian Valley's Service Careers program.

Troy Dally, senior vice president of Lowe's Home Improvement, presented the check to instructor Jayson Floyd during the National SkillsUSA contest in Kansas City, Mo. Eleven students were there participating in skills contests after having won state competitions in the spring.

Lowe's provided the grant in January for the “Champions Over Drought Gardens” project in which students committed to growing drought-tolerant plants that require little moisture, a process called Xeriscaping.

The grant also paid for the installation of two binocular viewfinders so students and guests could safely observe a neighboring prairie dog habitat. One of the viewfinders was accessible to wheelchairs and easily used by young children.

Students used the area as an outdoor classroom and invited school groups.

Several Canadian Valley students from Yukon brought home honors from the competition during which the grant was announced.

Jennifer Taylor and Mariah Galloway finished as national runners-up for a community action project. Mike Weir won a national silver medal in the American Spirit Award competition.

Jeff Chamberlin placed fourth at nationals in sheet metal, and Tia Brewster was fourth in the Employment Application Process competition. Antonio Davis placed fifth in CNC Milling. Dawson Jackson finished 10th in sheet metal and was 14th in cabinet making.

Bill Kramer is communications and marketing coordinator for Canadian Valley Technology Center.