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ORAU Pledges $1 Million to ORHS Renovation Project

June 23, 2004

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) President Ron Townsend today announced that ORAU is pledging $1 million over a five-year period to the proposed Oak Ridge High School (ORHS) renovation project.

Dr. Ron Townsend presenting check to Oak Ridge officials

Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Dr. Tom Bailey (left) and Oak Ridge Board of Education Chairman John Smith (right) accept a $1 million dollar check from ORAU President Ron Townsend (center) to go toward the Oak Ridge High School Renovation Project.

Townsend said ORAU is committed to supporting this project for a number of reasons. ”An essential element of a vibrant, healthy community is the public school system. Sustaining a world-class school system is the most important investment we can make in Oak Ridge’s future.”

“A project of this size requires a sense of purpose and the will to achieve it by our entire community. The citizens of Oak Ridge, the City Council, the School Board, Department of Energy contractors, and other local businesses have established a partnership that I have never seen before in Oak Ridge,” Townsend said.

ORAU’s contribution to the high school will come directly from fees received to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education for the Department of Energy, Townsend said.

Combined with last week’s $2 million pledge by UT-Battelle, ORAU’s commitment brings to $3 million the current total pledged by Oak Ridge’s major DOE contractors. The ORAU contribution will be made to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Foundation and is contingent upon Oak Ridge voters approving an August 5 referendum to increase the local option sales tax by a half cent.

The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation is sponsoring a $12 million fund-raising campaign of which $8 million is earmarked for the high school renovation project. Remaining funds for the high school project are expected to come from state bonds and the City of Oak Ridge.

“We’re thrilled with ORAU’s generous commitment to this important project for the community,” said Thom Mason, chair of the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation and Director of the Spallation Neutron Source. “ORAU was originally founded to support science and education within our universities and national laboratories; but they also have a strong track record of supporting the Oak Ridge community.”

Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Tom Bailey expressed his excitement at seeing the latest pledge. “For the past few years I’ve watched ORAU routinely support education not only in Oak Ridge, but in Anderson County and the region,” said Bailey. “We are so very pleased that ORAU has again chosen to support the Oak Ridge school system and in such a significant way.”

Oak Ridge voters will be asked to approve a referendum on the ORHS renovation project at the polls on Aug. 5th. The referendum would authorize a one-half-cent increase in the city’s sales tax dedicated to funding the high school renovation.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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