Classrooms up for adoption at River Hills - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Classrooms up for adoption at River Hills

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

One eastern Iowa school is putting its classrooms up for adoption. AEA 267 River Hills in Cedar Falls is looking to renovate all 24 of the schools class rooms. This "adopt-a-classroom" campaign began this fall and the school already gotten a very positive response.

River Hills focuses on helping students with special needs and its important its facilities are up to date to do that.

AEA 267 River Hills is like many schools across the state and are dealing with state budget cuts and because it's part of the Area Education Agency they can't take part in a local one cent option sales tax.

River Hills is an important place to around 150 students and more than 100 teachers, aids, and other support staff. It gives students with special needs the chance at independence.

"Any challenge that I would have to come up against these kids are coming up against day in and day out," said River Hills principal Mike Lonning.

Lonning is looking to give each person who works and learns at River Hills the chance to do it in a modern classroom. The building is 43 years old and it's starting to show its age. It costs $10,000 per class room for new paint, ceiling tile, lightening, cabinets, and other essentials. Lonning says so far the response has been impressive.

"We had a donor step up that made a tremendous donation to get us started and adopted eight classrooms and from there it's really snow balled," said Lonning.

An anonymous donor has said he or she will match any donations from now until December 31st up to $45,000.

While they have a long way to go each donation gives River Hills and the students that go there hope.

"As I watch the students unload from buses or vans or cars, there isn't a student who doesn't want to be here. They come in and they're smiling. They're happy to be here and as an administrator that is so, I guess, rare," said Lonning.

River Hills doesn't just help students from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area, but across the eastern part of the state. Students come from as far away as Marshalltown come to learn at this school.

If River Hills is able to raise enough money for the classrooms, school officials say they won't stop there. Once the class rooms are finished they will begin renovating the bathrooms, locker rooms, hallways and offices.

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