The on-campus improvement award could provide funding for significant restoration and maintenance projects at the college. The other four Alabama finalists are Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, Oakwood College in Huntsville, Stillman College in Tuscaloosa and Tuskegee University in Tuskegee Institute.
“All of those are fine institutions but it just goes to show that we have support out there to have made it in as a finalist,” Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins said. “It also shows that our alumni are listening and our friends are listening and voting in for Talladega College.”
As of Tuesday, Talladega College received 8,913 online votes and was ranked 28 out of the 56 finalists. Oakwood College ranked 36, Stillman College ranked 40, and Gadsden State Community College ranked 52.
Tuskegee University was ranked six with 83,462 votes.
More than 54 percent of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country applied for the “Retool Your School” award, and 56 finalists were chosen from Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“The ‘Retool Your School’ grant program was developed last year as a way to provide lasting improvements to HBCU campuses,” said Trish Mueller, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Home Depot.
“As finalists compete for funds to make vital on-campus renovations, it is now time for their communities to get involved and help them win. With proposals for projects such as creating serene outdoor study areas and building greenhouses and community gardens, these campus upgrades will benefit current and future students, as well as the surrounding communities,” Mueller said.
HBCUs were required to apply for the grant program by the Feb. 22 deadline and submit projects, one major and one minor, to the grant award program.
One school will win the grand prize of $50,000 for their major project, and 10 schools, which will be runners-up, will each get $10,000 for their minor projects.
Foster Hall has been part of Talladega College’s restoration plans for decades, but the grant wouldn’t help much with the building’s $4 million project.
Hawkins said the “Retool Your School” grant could help in the Foster Hall renovation project, but they could use the award to help with landscaping and preferred maintenance issues on the college’s campus.
“An award like this would be great for us because we are constantly working to improve the facilities on our campus. We have a great need to do it,” Hawkins said.
“It would be a great asset to win that award. We’ll see. But we need the support. We need folks to go online and vote for Talladega College.”
Talladega College’s major proposal for the award is to replace the roof of Ish Hall, a female dorm built in 1963, and paint its exterior.
The college’s minor proposal includes weatherizing buildings, creating walkways and constructing benches and arbors, or shade structures.
Talladega College alumni and supporters, and Talladega residents can go online to view and vote for these project proposals until Friday, April 22.
Once the voting period is over, a panel of judges will evaluate the major and minor project proposals based on many factors, including how it will make a lasting impact on their respective campuses
The winning schools will be determined based on the number of online votes and an evaluation from the judges, and announced on Monday, May 16.
For more information about the grant program or to vote, visit retoolyourschool.com.
Contact Aziza Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.