PATERSON, NJ – Lowe’s home improvement store this week announced it has awarded a $100,000 grant to Dr. Frank Napier Jr. Academy, also known as School 4.
City education officials plan to use the money for the creation of an “outdoor classroom, campus beautification and technology upgrades.’’ Part of the school’s existing parking lot will be converted into a play area and green space, according to a press release issued by Lowe’s. Also, the money will buy books and a laptop cart with multiple laptops, the company said.
Napier School was one of 18 around the country to get $100,000 grants under Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. Several employees from the store on Route 20 came to Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting to make the announcement, including Shamir Sampson, a Napier school graduate.
The store’s manager, Michael Bergamo, said about 95 percent of its employees are products of the Paterson school system. Bergamo praised the Paterson workers whose efforts he said have helped make the Route 20 the busiest in New Jersey. “Lowe’s is committed to improving the communities and supporting the causes where we do business and where our employees and customers live and work,’’ said the Lowe’s press release.
Since 1999, Lowe’s said it has donated $1,227,000 to various school and community projects in New Jersey. That includes $123,200 in the Paterson area, where Lowe’s opened a store five years ago.
The grant comes at a difficult time for Napier school. The building itself has been shut since the summer flooding, with students in grades k through 6 attending classes at the former St. Mary’s school building on Sherman Avenue, while 7th and 8th grades attending class at 137 Ellison Street. It’s not clear exactly when the School 4 building on Clinton Street will reopen.
Bergamo said Lowe’s is proving more than money. “We’ll be sending some people over to help them out,’’ he said, explaining that employees were committed to volunteering their time to the project.
Back in December, Lowe’s had been the target of protests from the local Arabic community after the national chain pulled its advertising from a cable television show, “All-American Muslim.’’