Claflin University, The Home Depot “Retool” the Arthur Rose Museum

Nov 11, 2014

Claflin Students Participating in Retool Your School ProgramMembers of Claflin University’s Friends of the Earth and Sodexo facilities joined a team from The Home Depot to beautify and conserve the Arthur Rose Museum through the “Retool Your School” campus improvement grant project.

This spring, Claflin won $10,000 from The Home Depot’s “Retool Your School” program to provide the supplies for work around the historic campus building. From 8 a.m. until mid-afternoon Friday, dozens of students and Home Depot representatives dumped pebbles, spread mulch, and planted flowers and bushes around the museum.

Behind the museum, a botanical garden will aid a new drainage system that will carry water away from the museum’s foundation, which has been threatened by encroaching erosion. In addition to its conservation purpose, the botanical garden will also serve as a place of reflection for the campus community. Park benches will be added in the future.

As one of the first HBCUs in the nation to offer programs in 

architecture and the first institution in South Carolina with a formal art department, President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale said the conservation and beautification efforts at the Arthur Rose Museum “continue Claflin’s commitment to preserving a legacy.”

The building was designed by famed African-American architect William Wilson Cooke, who also designed Tingley Memorial Hall, and was built by Claflin students more than a century ago, in 1898. For many years, it served as Lee Library before becoming home to Claflin’s art department. It now showcases world-class student, faculty and community art exhibitions.

Sponsored by The Home Depot, “Retool Your School” is a nationwide contest among historically black colleges and universities that helps preserve and improve some of America’s most historic campuses and landmarks. Projects are submitted by each participating school, and campus communities and their friends are encouraged to vote daily online for several weeks in the late winter and early spring.

“It’s a very special building, not only on our campus, but in our community,” Tisdale said of the Arthur Rose Museum. “It really is a very special legacy for the state of South Carolina.”

On hand to present the check was The Home Depot’s Tony Mitchell, operations director of the Two Notch Road location. In addition to the grant from Home Depot, local corporate sponsors who provided snacks and meals for the workers included Subway on John C. Calhoun Drive, Fatz Café on St. Matthew’s Road and Claflin’s own Sodexo Food Services. Waters Edge Equipment Rentals LLC of Orangeburg and Plumb Crazy Plumbing Service in Lexington also provided assistance.

Claflin University has participated in The Home Depot’s “Retool Your School” contest since its inception five years ago, but this is the first time the University has won a grant. More than 60 HBCUs competed this year.

A trio of Claflin students – LaChrista Williams, a senior mass communications major; Gyasi Julien, a junior business administration major; and Timothy Alston, a senior environmental science major – were recognized for their work in encouraging the campus community to vote and for securing student volunteers to help with the project’s implementation.

“It’s the kind of project that gets done when you have a team effort,” Tisdale said. “It was Team Claflin, a team effort. I saw it as a community-building and school spirit-building exercise.

“The work that has been done here today stands as a great symbol not only of our truly exceptional past here at Claflin, but of the kind of positive, transformational change that can occur when we all work together.”

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