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Fire-Damaged Building at Mountain Mission School Remodeled With $1 Million AEP Foundation Assist

by on October 2, 2018
From left, Archie Pugh, Mary Begley, Brad Hall and Chris Beam in the remodeled space at Mountain Mission School.

(Story by John Shepelwich)

GRUNDY, Va. – Mountain Mission School, a century-old southwest Virginia resident school for children in need, celebrated the opening of its remodeled boys’ dormitory Sept. 18 helped along with a $1 million grant from the AEP Foundation.

Chris Beam, Appalachian Power Company president and chief operating officer, presented the grant to the school president, Chris Slone, in a ceremony attended by several hundred students and a crowd of staff and construction workers. Archie Pugh, AEP Transmission field services managing director, Brad Hall, Appalachian external affairs vice president, and Mary Begley, external affairs manager, were also guests at the event.

The almost 40-year-old Parker Hall dormitory was damaged by fire in April this year. Beds were moved into the school gymnasium that the male residents called home during the salvage and refurbishing.

Original plans called for the work to last into 2019, but a crew of dedicated contractors — many volunteering their time — had the job completed in less than 5 months while focused staff members raised funds for the project. A major contributor and benefactor of the school, Jim McGlothlin, and his wife, Fran, were key in getting funding and pushing the work to get the boys back in a conducive home atmosphere. The McGlothlins are from Bristol, Va.

“Jim reached out to me a few months ago,” said Beam at the ceremony. “When I found out more about the situation at Mountain Mission School and what was being accomplished here, we at Appalachian did what we could with the AEP Foundation to help get this grant for the youth in Parker Hall.”

Residents, aged from elementary to seniors in high school, had not been allowed to see the newly remodeled spaces until the ribbon cutting. They were let into the building, one of the four floors at a time, to see the totally remodeled rooms and commons spaces that will serve as their new homes until graduation.

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