PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Dozens of WAVY-TV staffers and other community volunteers put in some manual labor — and donations — to give a community staple a long-overdue makeover.

It was a part of Nexstar’s Annual Founders Day of Caring. Started in 2016, it’s a day when Nexstar employees are given time off to participate in community service efforts. This year, the project supported the Ida Barbour Early Learning Center, providing them a new playground, building repair, garden work — and more.

“We have 199 stations, and we all go out in the community and help the community,” said WAVY-TV General Manager Carol Ward.

“It’s what we do. We’re first a public service, as WAVY-TV and FOX43, and it’s great to see everybody out here. We want to continue to enhance our community and help everyone,” Ward added.

The highlight of the day was the unveiling of the new playground for the children to use.

Thanks to generous donations, the Ida Barbour Early Learning Center received new playground equipment. June 17, 2022

“When they have a place that’s lively, that’s exciting, it’s colorful and it’s warm — then they will learn and they will grow, because they feel safe,” said Margaret Buxton, Executive Director of the Ida Barbour Early Learning Center.

“It’s so exciting to see all these people from WAVY volunteering their time and energy to bring us back and uplift us,” Buxton said.

As for the building itself, Hampton Roads-based Paramount Builders came out to work on the gutters.

“We’re big on giving back,” said Taylor Kool.

But soon they discovered, there was more work to be done. So they did it.

“The siding on the top we did, as well as all the trim. There was a lot of rotting, damaged wood; they were having issues with squirrels getting in the home,” said Kool.

The one-day project for these volunteers will undoubtedly have a long-lasting effect for the community.

“The importance of having the support of community members who have supported our organization through their business is just one of the best confirmations we have that they believe in our children, they believe in our community — and they want to help us in every way that we can,” said Buxton.

A full list of contributors is below:

  • A new refrigerator to ensure plenty of storage for the children’s food – donated by East Coast Appliance
  • New trim, fascia, gutters to eliminate entry points for the squirrels and rats that have been living in the attic – an $18,000 project donated by Paramount Builders
  • New HVAC system installed (their current one was not working with a very hot summer on the way) – an $18,000 project donated by Fusion HVAC.
  • Removal of a playground that was unsafe and condemned for the children to use – manpower donated by the 203d Red Horse Squadron and heavy equipment donated by Carter Machinery
  • Installation of a new playground – $30,000 in equipment and installation donated by Dan Banister (Banister Nissan) and the Mount Baptist Church (Bishop Brown)
  • A $10,000 grant donated from the Nexstar Charitable Foundation to use as they need
  • A brand new dumpster from KT’s Disposal
  • Mulch, flowers, trees, dirt from Tidewater Mulch & Materials
  • Papa John’s for the pizza 
  • Portsmouth Police Foundation