Built in the late 1960s, Smithfield-Selma High School sometimes shows its age. Earlier this year, for instance, the school had to shutter and later raze its field house because it had fallen into disrepair.
But school leaders are working to give SSS a makeover without going to the school board with their hands out. Instead, they’re reaching out to alumni, who have been eager to help make the school a better place.
For the past year, SSS faculty, students and members of the class of 1974 have been restoring the concession stand near the gym. Leading the effort were 1974 graduate Julia Batten and assistant SSS principal Beverly Moore.
“Our school was built in 1969,” Moore said. “It was time for a much-needed update.”
The renovation included new countertops, a built-in stove, new floor tiles, a fresh coat of paint and materials for decorating the concession stand.
The school’s two art teachers – Kelley Hardin and Morgan Dickens – led their students in creating a collage of school photos and paintings depicting the school and what it was like in 1974.
The class of 1974 donated $2,000 to renovate the space; the school picked up any additional costs, Moore said.
“The students and teachers’ creativity and sweat equity really stretched the dollars,” Batten said.
The school’s clubs and athletic department run the concession stand, using the money they earn to buy equipment, pay for field trips, etc., Moore said. Just before a recent basketball game, students and staff were prepping the concession stand for one of its first runs since the renovation.
Students and staff prepared hot dogs, nachos and other treats behind the counter, squeezing behind one another in the small space. But they cracked jokes and laughed together as they worked.
“We hope the renovation will be the first phase of helping to give our school a fresh and updated look, which students, staff and parents can perceive as a breath of fresh air,” Moore said. “As well as encourage other alumni to consider partnering with us in helping to achieve this goal.”
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett