ABILENE, Texas (News Release) — The AEP Foundation has provided a $100,000 grant to help fund completion of Abilene Heritage Square. The $44million dollar project is expected to be completed in 2023 and will encompass a variety of uses focused on self-improvement, education, and bringing the community together.
The complex will include a state-of-the-art public library, exhibition space for both local and traveling exhibits, special event spaces for both private and public use and a 700-seat auditorium.
The facility will also include classroom space for the Stone Owl Institute, an after-school program where teens will learn the principles of civic service and free-market economics.
The grant was announced Tuesday afternoon.
Julio Reyes, AEP Texas vice president of External Affairs, presented an enlarged version of the contribution check on behalf of the AEP Foundation.
Reyes noted that American Electric Power, parent company of AEP Texas, created the AEP Foundation in 2005 to continue the tradition of corporate philanthropy of AEP and its regional utilities and to support and to play an active, positive role in the communities where AEP employees live and work.
“This will be an incredible facility and will preserve a storied campus for another century,” Reyes said. “The AEP Foundation is proud to support a project that will clearly enrich the lives of many in the Abilene community. We have board members present from the Stone Owl Institute and Heritage Square with us today. I applaud their efforts to enrich students’ understanding of this country, and promote a better understanding of our free enterprise system.”
Jane Varner Beard, president of the Abilene Heritage Square board, said, “We want to thank the AEP Foundation for this wonderful investment in the future of Abilene. Their donation will provide a permanent home for the innovative Stone Owl Institute, which is already garnering national attention. With AEP’s help, local high school students will have the opportunity to become better citizens while earning scholarship funds for college or technical training. AEP has been bringing physical light to our community for many years, with this gift, they are now bringing the light of knowledge to our area as well.”
Taylor Sturgis, board member of Abilene Heritage Square and board chair for the Stone Owl Institute, said, “This generous grant will make possible classrooms where students will continue to gain an understanding of what it means to be an American. The AEP Foundation’s support will be remembered, not only as an investment in our community today, but also in the lives of those who will one day serve as the leaders of Abilene, Texas.”