EVANSDALE, Iowa --- Months ago, Bunger Middle School's Partner in Education broached the subject of funding a project that would honor the memory of Lyric Cook-Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins, the two young cousins who went missing in July 2012 and whose bodies were found in December.
Today, the efforts of a number of local groups will be unveiled when a new memorial lounge is dedicated in the school's media center.
Members of the First Congregational United Church of Christ got the ball rolling.
"We provided some initial funding and fellow (partner in education) Peters Construction, took the project and ran with it," said Greg Holt. "Brad Best, Peters' vice president, brought in designer Jill Becker of StruXture Architects, and we worked with Bunger's media specialist, Corey Rogers, to design a unique reading and learning area for the school's library."
"Elizabeth's brother, Kelly, is a student here, and this is where the girls would have gone to school," Rogers said. "This will be a place the kids can come together to share their memories and hopes and dreams."
The lounge, which features colorful wooden slat walls and modular furniture, was installed Friday.
Mike Weber and Mark Kennedy of Peters Construction Corp. measured, cut and installed the slats, aided by Bunger students. Other students reported to the media center to help unload the furniture from a U-haul trailer parked in front of the school.
Seventh-grader Sergio Castro helped carry wood and furniture. He expects to use the lounge a lot.
"I think it's a good idea to remember them," he said of the girls.
"I love that they get to do it," said Rogers, as she watched the students pitch in. "It's great to get them involved."
Inspirational quotes will be displayed in the lounge that also will feature a donor wall.
"We wanted a really bright, colorful space to honor the girls," Becker said. "It was a great opportunity, and it was eye opening to see what a great community we have out there to help and to donate to get this space complete."
Nearly everything needed to complete the project was donated, including the $13,000 worth of furniture donated by Allsteel, Becker said.
Monetary donations came from the FCUCC and Bunger's coin war fundraiser.
The open house ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. today, prior to the school's orchestra concert. The public is invited to attend.
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