Kevin P. O’Connor
Herald News Staff Reporter
FALL RIVER — You know how it is when your family grows: Closets are the first casualty.
Not to worry, the Diman Bengal Education Foundation is there to help.
The foundation began work a little more than a year ago, dedicated to raising the money needed by Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School. The foundation promises to help provide the extras that make a difference in a school.
“We looked, initially, at five projects,” said Ed Hill, a Diman graduate and a member of the foundation board of directors. “We funded one project last year and this will be our second. We have others underway.”
The foundation, on Thursday, turned over a $12,000 check to pay half the cost to build additional storage space for the physical education program at the school.
“The school spent $135,000 in the last year and a half renovating the girls’ locker room,” Hill said. “Diman was built as a boy’s school. Because of that, they had to take the storage space to renovate the girl’s locker room.”
The storage room, now under construction, is the second project funding by the foundation. The group raised money to help build a service counter in the automotive technology shop.
They have their sights on a bigger project now: The foundation is raising money to buy equipment for the physics laboratory school faculty want to renovate.
“They need a better lab,” Hill said. “The lab they have has been outdated since 1968.
“A better lab would let them offer advanced-placement classes and honors programs. If they start a biotech program at the school, this will be necessary.”
“We build from this.”
The foundation members are constantly looking for companies and individuals willing to donate to the school. Tentative plans are underway for a fundraising event this summer to give the physics lab campaign a boost, Hill said.
“We will speak to the principal and he will give us a list of the equipment needed. We can publicize that list.
“A lot of people will give if they can say they funded a lab station or a specific piece of equipment, so we will give them that opportunity.”
They school has gotten estimates that a renovation of the physics lab could cost more than $100,000.
“They are designing the project now,” he added. “They are working with people from MIT to do it.”
There is a long list of needs at the school, Hill said.
“Our mission is to assist with innovative programs and also improve the school and the grounds,” he explained.
“We try to get sponsorships for projects. We go to businesses in the area. The school can’t do that, but we can.”
“It is an amazing school,” said Paul Medeiros, a Diman alum and president of the foundation. “It has improved every year.
“We have generous alumni who are willing to help. We hope the foundation will make it easier for people to contribute.”
After the physics lab, the attention with shift to the machinist shop, to help the school get the latest equipment so students can learn to use the machines currently in use in business for computer assisted design.
“When you look at the foundations board of directors, 80 percent of us are Diman grads, so there is a real connection to the school,” Hill said.
“We’re here to help the school and the faculty with the projects they initiate.”
“Basically, we’re here to help.”