The Indians Ground coffee shop at Adair County High School had its grand opening Monday, but according to Director of Special Education Wes Irvin, the project is something that has been in the works since last year.
“I was at a meeting, and I saw, where another district had done something like this,” Irvin said. “I became very intrigued because I thought if we did this in our high school, the opportunities that we gave our students in what’s called the MSD classroom — the moderate-to-severe-disability classroom — to get them out of the classroom and allow them to take up money, follow a schedule, take orders, clean, it would help them with social skills that’s going to go with them the rest of their lives.”
Irvin thought the perfect placement for Indian Grounds would be in the library. When she was approached with the idea, ACHS Librarian Jenny Myers said she was immediately on board.
“When I first heard about it, I was super excited,” Myers said. “Finding a way to get the kids into the library, it’s always a good thing.”
Irvin said the project wouldn’t have been able to happen without a lot of help from people in the schools and community.
District Superintendent Dr. Pamela Stephens noted that Jon Beard and Dustin Martin with Bluegrass Custom Concepts installed the concrete slab counter and built the floors at no charge. The pair just asked that the district make a donation to the prom as a contribution on behalf of the company.
“These two gentlemen would not charge for their services, and they worked hours and hours doing this,” Stephens said. “We are so grateful and we want everybody to understand what an awesome gift this is to not only our students but our school district, so thank you to those two gentlemen.”
A grant through WHAS paid for the machines that the students use to make the coffee.
“I want to say a big thank you to our local Adair County Fire Department because they work so hard to raise money for [WHAS Crusade for Children],” Irvin said, “so that’s why we invited them [to the ribbon cutting], to give a big appreciation to them.”
In the district, Irvin said the maintenance department helped with the flooring, welding teacher Barney Taylor and his students worked with the steel and did the Indian Grounds sign, and the ACHS art class helped with the chalkboard that has the menu.
“A lot of people in the school helped, and we just want to thank them as well,” Irvin said.
Indian Grounds had its soft opening last week, which brought in $1,600, and had a ribbon cutting/grand opening on Monday, April 18.
Irvin said seeing the vision come to fruition has been the most rewarding part of the process because of how much the students in the MSD classroom have wanted to get started with the project.
“For our students now that are getting to work it, they’ve really been looking forward to it,” Irvin said. “As I’ve seen it start to come together and be up here and working, we’re just so excited for them.
“It’s been awesome to see it come into play and to see the kids working it,” Myers added. “They’ve loved having a purpose, having an environment where they’re feeling needed and useful. It’s just awesome.”
Indian Grounds is open from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for ACHS staff and is open to ACHS students during their “Power Hour,” which takes place for 30 minutes after lunch.