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Hartselle Enquirer

Riley’s Resource Center

Newly renovated building named for Robin Riley

Lauren Estes

Hartselle Enquirer

Riley’s Resource Center, centered on assisting students with special needs featured their ribbon cutting ceremony in their newly renovated building on Friday.

Pre-Transition Special Needs Education teacher Tasha McKee was the backbone of seeing the project through, according to Hartselle City Schools Superintendent Vic Wilson. McKee’s vision for the building came from needing and wanting more room for the students that she taught. Senator Arthur Orr was able to get a $22,000 to help with the renovation costs.

“I teach seventh and eighth grade students that are the least restrictive on the regular classroom, we teach them life skills to help them become independent,” McKee said. “We just really needed a place for them to learn and grow and the vocational school building was vacant but it needed to be renovated. I asked Dr. Wilson about the building and he said I could renovate it, but it is not in the budget. So, he told me if I could come up with the funds to do it, to go for it.”

McKee said the center was named for a person that indirectly made an impact on the new location.

“The teacher before me was Robin Riley,” McKee said. “She passed away unexpectedly in August 2015. I was transferred into her position after her passing.”

McKee said she started going door to door to get fundraising assistance, and leaned on local people for help.

”On top of Senator Orr’s $22,000 grant, I also received $2500.00 from Walmart and $150 from Venita Jones,” McKee said. “ Kyle Woodard , our agriscience teacher, completed all of the shelving and woodwork in the building. John Hall completed all the landscape with Kyle Woodard and our FFA students. Ken Pope painting did all of the painting at a wonderful price so I was able to do other things. Tim Whitt did all of the flooring. Corum’s installed the security doors and Traditions Fence put up fencing along the

building for security. Barbara and Jackie Burney purchased the sofas. My Principal Robbie Smith and Superintendent Dr. Vic Wilson were supportive and made sure I had everything I needed for completion.”

The renovations themselves were not simple, McKee said, and a lot of improvements had to be made.

“We had a lot of stuff that had to be done for the building,” McKee said. The building had to have top to bottom renovations. Carpet removal, full paint, updated electrical, plumbing and Internet services. Now, we moved into the building in November of 2016 and it’s almost fully completed.”

Wilson said the new facility will catch the eye of all who enter in it, and it will be as asset to the Hartselle City School system.

“It’s a wonderful facility and it meets the needs of our kids,” Wilson said. “Tasha’s work is what got this project done, along with the donation through the grant acquired by Senator Arthur Orr. Also, John Hall did a great job on the landscaping of the building and we’re very thankful of his work.”

Senator Arthur Orr was present at the ribbon cutting ceremony and said he was happy to be a part of getting funds for this renovation. 

“I appealed to the state department and the grant only did a little more than provide the improvements, the true work was done by the staff here; they are the ones who made it happen,” Orr said. “They started working on it last summer and approached me for the potential grant. I was humbled to play a small part in it.”

McKee said she already has plans in mind for the next renovation of Riley’s Resource Center.

“I have already begun work on Phase II,” she said. “I will hopefully have a special needs playground and a garden area to teach lawn maintenance and garden upkeep.”