The Southern Pines Pilot, Dec. 10, 2015

For all the talk lately about high-tech classrooms and advanced learning in Moore County, the newest classroom at North Moore High School has a decidedly low-tech look.

School officials last week debuted their newest learning space, a 70-foot-by-100-foot barn behind the school.

The project, is going toward implementing an agricultural curriculum that will teach students about farming and the livestock industry. The curriculum will extend into biology and health sciences classes as well and is designed to teach students the full range of careers that touch the farming industry.

The barn, Located behind the school near the athletic fields, was funded by the estate of Helen Burns Williams to honor her daughter, Delilah Williams. Delilah Williams graduated from North Moore and later became a teacher at Elise Middle School in Robbins. She died in an auto accident in 2006. Burns died in January 2013.

Half of the donated funds went into a scholarship fund, and the other half went to the two things that Williams loved most: reading and animals.

The first thing North Moore Principal Jenny Purvis did with the money was create a modern media center.

“It’s a place where students want to be,” Purvis said. “It is filled with children all the time that love to be there.”

The second thing Purvis did was build the barn, using part of the estate money for the structure as well as $20,000 in additional “Career and Technical” funds for movable items inside the barn.

“This is a testimony to how much Delilah loved kids and students,” Purvis said. “It will allow for her legacy to live on.”

The barn was built by North Moore graduate Tommy Garner and includes an adjacent open area that serves as a “classroom.” Beside the barn is a pasture for the animals. The barn broke ground in the fall of 2014, and electrical wiring was completed four weeks ago.

“This barn would not have been made possible without our community members that donated their time and resources,” Purvis said. “They helped make this a reality for us.”

Chickens, goats and a calf named Stevie live in the facility full time.

“Things can be easily moved around in here because we don’t want anything permanent,” said Holly Kidd, who teaches animal science. “Animals are constantly changing, so we wanted this space to reflect that.”

As the students help take care of the animals and observe their growth, the animals will be sold, and the cycle will continue each semester.

“With each cycle of students coming in and out of the barn, we will cycle the animals as well, so they know what each stage of growing requires,” Purvis said.

The barn has provided a hands-on experience for the students in animal science and will continue to do so as the program moves ahead.