Oakwood University gets campus developments with Retool Your School grant

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - There are some new fixtures going up at Oakwood University after Home Depot gave the school $25,000 as part of its Retool Your School program.

"It's for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for campus improvement," said Home Depot store manager Lynda Ares.

Winners are selected based on how many people vote online for any one school.

"The students really made it their project," said Kisha Norris, Oakwood's executive director of advancement and development. "They started tweeting and letting everyone know about it."

"It's a competition for current students and alumnus to come together and rally for the cause and do something great for the university," said Tahjai Conkerite, student body president at the university.

School administrators say students, faculty, alumni, and friends had a hand in their success. That same community feeling is why Oakwood opted for the money to create a pavilion, some new landscaping, and new benches next to Unity Pond.

"What we did with this Home Depot project is find a way that we can actually gather together," said Norris.

The pavilion being built with the prize money is being constructed just feet away from another pavilion that was funded by a Retool Your School competition that Oakwood won last year.

"The pride here at Oakwood is phenomenal. We go against much larger schools like FAMU (Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University) and Howard," said Conkerite. "But we were able to rally together and say 'we can win this thing.'"

Last year Oakwood won the tier one grant for $50,000. This year's prize is the school pride award, won with the help of students, staff, and alumni.

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