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Drake State Gets a Fall Makeover


J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College was recently awarded The Home Depot RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL Campus Improvement Grant, and will launch its campus beautification and improvement project this week! 

Drake State will begin its Retool Your School project on Friday, September 19, at 10:00 a.m. Various community leaders will be present as Drake State student, faculty, and staff volunteers kick off the campus beautification project. Local Home Depot store staff will also be working volunteers, providing project assistance and leadership.  Grant funds will be utilized to focus on the refurbishment of three campus gazebos and landscaping with plants, trees and shrubs. In addition, The Home Depot team will install a pavilion enhancing the College’s outdoor meeting space.

“The Home Depot’s recognition of our needs solidifies their continuous commitment to the improvement of our community,” stated Drake State President Dr. Helen T. McAlpine. “We are sincerely appreciative of their financial and volunteer support as we begin our academic and facility transformation into the premier community and technical college in the region.”

Upon submission of the grant application, Drake State was entered into a voting contest among peer institutions. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends were encouraged to vote electronically for their school daily for a 30-day period as Home Depot tracked votes and social media activity. Drake State was awarded one of 13 $10,000 Tier II grants.

“We were thrilled to receive this award from The Home Depot team, and can’t wait to literally get our hands dirty beautifying our campus this week. The feverish voting by our College family demonstrated our enthusiasm for this project, and our commitment to the continuous improvement of our campus.” said Lesley Shotts, Drake State Grants Coordinator. “We’re grateful for the support of The Home Depot, and for providing us with the resources to pursue this project.”

Drake State competed with a total of 58 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for grants totaling $255,000, which provide much-needed funds to make enduring improvements to their campuses. The program supports the growing sustainability movement by providing special consideration to eco-friendly project proposals from HBCUs.

 “The RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL program is such an important program to The Home Depot,” says Melissa Brown, manager, Multicultural Marketing, The Home Depot. “We know how valuable our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities are and how much they have contributed to our country’s growth. Furthermore, The Home Depot is moved every year by the HBCU community’s passionate response to this program as well as by the proposals submitted by the schools. We continue to get very thoughtful and creative proposals for projects to preserve and improve some of America’s most historic campuses and landmarks.”

To learn more about Drake State’s RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL project and funding, contact Yibeli Galindo-Baird at 256-551-3136 or via email at

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