BY EMILY GUEVARA
Two $10,000 grants from The Home Depot have provided some upgrades at the Texas College campus in Tyler.
For the second straight year, the historically black college has received a grant from The Home Depot’s Retool Your School program.
This year, the college used the funds to build an outdoor gathering space adjacent to the school cafeteria.
Texas College President Dr. Dwight Fennell said the space can be used for eating or socializing when tables are set up or performances when they are not.
The college also added some landscaping around one of the residence halls and a portion of the student activity center, he said.
“It helps us do a little bit more with the manicuring of the campus to show this community that we’re a part of it,” Fennell said of the work.
Last year, the college used the funds to update landscaping around campus by planting shrubs and installing flowers beds around the trees, among other changes.
The Home Depot launched the Retool Your School program four years ago, according to its website.
The program offers grants to historically black colleges and universities nationwide to fund campus improvements.
This year, 67 historically black colleges and universities participated in the program.
The schools applied for the competitive grants and were selected based on a combination of consumer voting and advisory board panel input, according to the website.
Fourteen schools received a grant award. The highest scoring school received $50,000 and 12 schools received $10,000. The school that received the most votes and social media activity received a $25,000 award.
Texas College’s Student Body President Houston Creighton, 21, a senior math major from Dickinson and a baseball player, said the number of votes for the Texas College project (more than 78,000) showed the buy-in from the community.
He said the new community space provides “that atmosphere boost that we needed just to be around the campus and more comfortable.”
He also thanked The Home Depot for its generosity saying it was “big” of the company to donate.
Beyond the grant funds from the company, the Tyler store also donated additional materials such as shrubbery and paint for the project, Fennell said.