Hammond Hill dedicates courtyard

  • Sunday, December 9, 2012

Staff photo by Phyllis Britt The new water feature area of the Hammond Hill Elementary School was made possible through the efforts of volunteers at Lowe’s, which also provided a grant to fund the project.


Hammond Hill Elementary School is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and a big part of that celebration has revolved around renovations to a courtyard at the school.

Volunteers and special guests saw the fruits of their labor on Friday with the official dedication of the courtyard and the opening of a mini-museum of school memorabilia through the years.

The school was on the candlelight Christmas Tour of Homes in North Augusta Friday night and continued on the daytime tour Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Janet Vaughan, principal at Hammond Hill, explained that the project began when the school’s PTO approached the School Improvement Council with a proposal of installing concrete pads for two picnic tables in the existing courtyard. Vaughan said she met with the school’s leadership team, and they began to devise a vision for the courtyard.

“If you could have anything you wanted in the courtyard, what would it be,” she asked the teachers. The result was a “dream” of a plaza with tables and big umbrellas, a water feature, a grassy area with a sprinkler system, garden and a place to seat an entire grade level at once.

From there, the effort was led by PTO liaison Joy McCurry and SIC liaison Happy Parker, grandmother of Hammond Hill student Shane Sloan.

And anyone looking at the result on Friday had to notice that the teachers got everything on their list.

Vaughan admitted she realized from the beginning that, “With the project being led by Happy and Joy, how can you go wrong?”

The dedication ceremony included comments from Joe Campbell, who attended Hammond Hill the first year it opened. Campbell, owner of the old Town Tavern, shared his experiences while at Hammond Hill. And speaking to the students, who watched the dedication on the school’s internal TV station, Campbell said, “Remember, your best friends are your oldest friends. Treasure the friendships you’re making today.”

Another speaker at the dedication was Donna Mosley, who was a student at Hammond Hill, then a parent and teacher during her “lifelong relationship” with the school. She noted she learned of the assassination of JFK as a student, and she was teaching in the same classroom when 9/11 occurred.

Mosley encouraged the visitors to check out the mini museum, which even included the original papers through which Hammond Burkhalter and his development company “sold” the property for the school at the price of $1.

Mosley maintained everyone through the years has “cherished” Hammond Hill. She mentioned the thrill, as a student, of going down the ramp from the cafeteria to the current school offices and the pride in knowing that some of the students she taught are now the teachers in Hammond Hill classrooms.

“I’m not saying Hammond Hill is perfect, but it’s pretty close,” she said.

Among other folks recognized for their efforts in the renovations of the courtyard were Darren Prickett, who did the architectural drawings; David McGhee, who served as contractor for the renovations; Eric Proctor, Jason Ziemet and David Noyce, all with Lowe’s, who headed up a company effort to build the water feature and to landscape the area around it; the PTO, which raised $50,000 through cookie dough sales; North Augusta Sertoma, which donated to the cause; Groves Nursery, which provided plants; the Maner family, which donated the funding to make the Duraclean Amphitheater (named for the Maner family business) possible; and more.

“Our businesses, parents and community members brought us here today,” said assistant principal Sara-Beth Brown.

Parker agreed, “One person couldn’t do this. It was such a team effort.”

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