Dissecting frogs in a science laboratory is a luxury Murray High School students have never had - that is, until late last month.
Two years ago, the Murray School District Foundation challenged each school in the district to come up with a project that would benefit a majority of students. Teachers and administrators came up with the idea of building a science lab.They submitted the idea to Kim Davis, Murray High's representative on the foundation. The foundation organized the effort and began making pitches to businesses and knocking on doors.
"No one ever had any idea that it would be a project of this magnitude," said Toni Geddes, coordinator of the Murray School District Foundation. And, she said, it was made possible almost totally by community donations.
The cost of building the lab was estimated at $130,000. Businesses and individuals donated 98 percent of the materials and labor necessary to complete the lab. The foundation raised $25,000 in cash that will be used to buy equipment such as microscopes for the lab.
Every student who attends Murray High will benefit, said Principal Richard Tranter, because they're all required to take sophomore biology.
"Science is a hands-on, practical subject," said Scott Bushnell, Murray's biology teacher. "There's no question that you learn better (with practical experience)."
Murray will also be able to offer students advanced-placement biology for the first time in the school's history, Tranter said. It couldn't be offered before because students are required to complete 12 lab projects to get credit.
"This is going to be amazing," said Dave Lawson, one of Murray's science teachers. "This is going to be fantastic for zoology. We could even start doing some original research that we wouldn't have been able to do. We can have kids start working on things they can actually do for their master's thesis."
Four years ago Murray High raised money to install lights on their football field.
"In the beginning, I recalled some people telling me that people won't give for an academic pursuit," Tranter said. "People proved them wrong - they gave."
The foundation plans to thank contributors with engraved tiles that will decorate the lab. More than 170 individuals and businesses contributed to the effort.