Donations needed to expand programs at local special education school

New Vistas School needs $950K to build new gym, classrooms, cafeteria

LYNCHBURG, Va. – New Vistas School in Lynchburg serves about 36 children, in third to 12th  grades, with learning disabilities such as like autism, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Students are taught in a small classroom setting, but the school is challenged for space.

“Some spaces are pretty occupied at the moment, but we’re trying to make it work,” ninth grader Nicholas Potts said.

A room similar to a classroom is a cafeteria for the students, but it's also their assembly and physical education room.

“Every day we’re taking down chairs and tables and setting them back up,” Lori Eaglin, the head of school, said.

School leaders have started a campaign called the Raise the Roof Challenge.

“Pretty excited,” sixth grader Matthew Corriell said.

By next summer, school officials are looking to construct a new building with a gym, two science labs, an art classroom and cafeteria.

“I feel like it will be a really good addition to the school,” Nicholas said.

The grand total to get this done is $950,000.

“It is a lot of money and we’re doing very well,” Eaglin said.

The school is about 40% shy from its goal. An anonymous donor has pledged to give up to $200,000 and match every dollar donated by community members.

“Daily exercise is important not only for the body, but for their mind. Getting those endorphins going,” Eaglin said.

Teachers said the new building will help them expand their curriculum and prepare their students for college. 

That's something students say is worth the dollar-cost.

“We wouldn’t mind maybe a small donation or something,” Nicholas  said.

For more information about the Raise the Roof Challenge, go to www.newvistasschool.org.