Pipeline company makes donation to support community
New technology and resources will soon be coming to Stonewall Elementary School thanks to a recent donation.
The school received a $150,000 donation from Kinder Morgan Pipeline Company last Wednesday.
“When I heard it was that large of an amount, I was shocked,” Principal Amie Chalberg said. “I was a little cautious at first hearing about Kinder Morgan, but talking with County Commissioner (Dennis) Neffendorf, I felt more at ease. We are thrilled they chose us to make this investment. It will be a huge blessing to the kids who attend this school.”
Allen Fore, vice president of communications for Kinder Morgan, said the company strives to invest in the communities where they have assets.
“Whenever we have a donation in our community, we look to local officials for guidance because they know what the community needs,” Fore said. “When I took a tour of the school, I realized what a wonderful opportunity young folks will have with access to new technology and more resources.”
Chalberg said the funds will be split into thirds: 30% will be used to develop a Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) lab, 30% will be used to refurbish the current portable building (adding restrooms, running water) and the final 30% will be used so every student receives a laptop computer.
“Having every student receive a device will be extremely helpful, especially now with the possibility of remote learning,” Chalberg said.
An existing computer lab will be refurbished to accommodate the new technologies, as well as adding restrooms and water fountains so students don’t have to go back into the main school building for these needs.
The facility will be dedicated in memory Daniel K. Behrends, a former student who died in an accident in 1971 at age 19.
“We were humbled when we found out. We ever expected something like this,” said Dennis Behrends, Daniel’s brother.
Now future generations will be able to honor Behrends.
“It’s good to know that we can help future generations and the pipeline company can help future generations,” Behrends said. “It’s leaving a legacy and we are thankful that this donation can make an impact in the future.”
Chalberg hopes the project is completed by the spring. This would allow for current students to use the new technology as well as allow the school to host a STEAM summer camp, drawing the community to the school.
“We hope this will draw students to our school and show the community that we are tech savvy,” Chalberg said.
During the 2020-2021 school year, the school will celebrate 160 years of educating students in Gillespie County.
“This is a really special school because it has been historically preserved and you can really see the culture and the diversity of the students who attend it,” Fore said. “Sometimes these small schools have limited resources to complete much-needed projects and we wanted to provide opportunities to make that happen. This will be something the school can look forward to and make the school year special.”
Fore said future donations to the school, as well as the Fredericksburg Independent School District Community Foundation and FISD, are likely.
“We want to be supportive and provide long-term value to the communities we have assets in,” Fore said. “This is not about Kinder Morgan, but about the students that will be impacted now and in the future.”