Charter School Gets Funding

The School of Arts and Sciences gets some money from the state, but it couldn't afford to make its campus entirely handicap accessible until now.

Josh Richard has muscular dystrophy, and until a few weeks ago, couldn't join his friends on the school playground without a disturbing detour. The School of Arts and Sciences faced a budget shortfall this year. That would have made installing the ramps out of the question, but a local attorney saw a story about the dilemma on WCTV and called in the help of his friends at the Tallahassee Builders Association. Friends like Ed Dion with Dion Builders.

"We leveled the ground, put down the patio stones which are quite heavy, so carrying them around was a lot of work. Then the posts were all set in place. The 2 by 8's nailed to them and then the spindles, hand rails and all put in place," says Ed.

A group of builders donated supplies and labor to the tune of nearly $20,000. Now there are ramps to the playground and to the middle school that allow Josh and any other disabled student to arrive right alongside their classmates.

"It's great just seeing Josh's reaction to it. He can make his own choices, decides when he wants to do stuff and when he doesn't. You can really see a change in him since last year especially considering he has all this more accessibility," says Ty Hammond.

The value of all the exterior ramps and walkways tops $35,000. The school raised about $16,000 through concerts and bake sales. The builders chipped in the rest. A formal ribbon cutting is slated for next week.