Long overdue: Hardin High School library, lounge completely renovated

Hardin ISD administrators, trustees, staff and students, and representatives of Hardin Bank celebrate the completion of a renovation project at the high school library. They gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 17. Anna Veach, a retired librarian for Hardin ISD, also took part in the celebration.

Hardin ISD teachers, administrators, staff and students gathered alongside leaders of Hardin Bank on Wednesday, Aug. 17, to celebrate a renovation project to Hardin High School’s library. Funded through a $60,000 donation to the school district by the bank, the District was able to stretch the funds to completely overhaul the library, which had not seen major improvements in decades.

“Without them (the bank), this project would not have been possible,” said Superintendent Scott Mackey. “It’s like a new facility. Our kids will take advantage of this, and we appreciate it so much. It looks like a state-of-the-art junior college or college library now. Our kids, faculty and administrators are so tickled that you all did this.”

The library project, along with a complete makeover of the teacher lounge, was spearheaded by HS Teacher Amanda Kersh Key and the student leadership council. According to Key, she discussed the idea for the library makeover to School Board President Cody Parrish, who then reached out to his friends at Hardin Bank. Within 24 hours, Parrish called Key back to say that the funding was secure.

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Parrish told Bluebonnet News by phone that overhauling the library and transforming it into a library and learning center is a project that Hardin High School has needed for a long time, so he was happy to play a part.

Key and student leadership council students took on the task of picking out and arranging for the library’s new furnishings, down to chairs they ordered from Amazon and tables purchased through Walmart. Instead of having drab tan-colored walls and old wooden desks with mismatched chairs, the library now has bold, dark blue walls and armchairs, leather-look tables and footrests, and a wall-length table that lines one wall with seating for more than a dozen students. The focal point of the room is a curved desk with a built-in bench lined with high barstools where teachers and staff can hold gatherings around a central speaker.

The difference is night and day, said Key.

“The carpet was more than 20 years old. It was a rundown facility, so we are so excited and fortunate for your generous donation,” Key told Bob Allen and Debbie Adams with Hardin Bank, and Ken Moore, president of Anahuac National Bank, which owns the Hardin bank branch.

Madelyn Day, as a spokesperson for the student leadership council, thanked the bank leaders for helping students turn their dream into a reality.

“We are so grateful that the bank helped us with that,” Day said.

The library and learning center was not the only project for the students over the summer. They also renovated the teachers lounge with new furniture, tables and paint. Larks Everest, a local artisan, created metal wall hangings that are in both the library, lounge and hallway. Don Frewin, Hardin’s “Santa Claus,” provided plywood for a wall-mounted table and shelving.

When asked why Hardin Bank was willing to make the donation to Hardin ISD, Moore said, “It’s what we do. We are involved in our communities in Winnie, Anahuac and Barbers Hill, too. Since we have a branch here in Hardin, it only made sense that we be involved here, too. School districts are often the largest employers in a community like this, so it makes sense to invest in the schools.”

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