DES MOINES, Iowa -- McKinley Elementary is one of the oldest buildings in the Des Moines Public School District. It was built in 1904. While the building is full of character, maintaining it comes at a cost.
The library, which was once said to be a gymnasium, never really felt quite like a library until now, thanks to one giving group.
“I love books. I find my safety sometimes just getting lost in a book,” Melanie Larsen, a McKinley mother said. “I want that for my kids and I want that for these kids.”
Larsen knew a renovation to her kids' library was needed.
“This school is incredible. [It’s] full of the best teachers and students, and everyone here is so warm. I wanted them to have a space that really describes who they are,” Larsen said.
Principal Sarah Grady agreed but knew with the budget it would take some time.
“You know, 5-10 years just to make some major changes. So a while down the road,” Grady said.
Now, in just one year, the library is almost complete with head-to-toe renovations thanks to the Larsen's church.
“Every year we do Big November, which is all about taking our generosity to the next level,” Pastor Jesse Newman said. “So we don't want to be just a little bit generous, we want to be extra generous.”
Eternity Church in Clive went all out, raising $50,000 for McKinley.
“We didn't want to just come in there and paint it, or put some new shelves in, or some more books. We wanted to renovate the entire space,” Newman said.
The library now has new furniture and new technology. The church is even getting McKinley a new book collection after hundreds were bought at a book fair.
“It's just us saying ‘hey, as a church, we love our community. We love you and we want to show you the kindness of God,’” Newman said.
“It's really surreal, just the excitement and enthusiasm to just make reading come alive for students,” Grady said.
It will very soon for Larsen's kids, and all the other McKinley students. The library is set to be completed within the next few days.
“I’m excited for them to get lost in a book and lost in their bean bag, and just fall in love with words. Words have power and they can find that in the library,” Larsen said.
This isn't the first big donation Eternity Church made for their Big November. In years past, they've provided Indian Hills with new scoreboards in their gym and showed their support to West Des Moines Community Schools teachers.