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Students at Fort Johnson Middle School are going to cast a little light on the subject of the new millennium, building a functional, two-story reproduction of the landmark Morris Island Lighthouse to serve as a focal symbol in Charleston's First Night 2000 Millennium Celebration.
The school has established a partnership with Save the Light Inc., the James Island PSD Fire Department and the James Island Lowe's.
The people of James Island and craftsmen from throughout the area will gather in the parking lot of the James Island Lowe's Nov. 20 at 9 a.m. to build the base and tower. The public is encouraged to come, learn about the work and help out.
The structure then will go to Fort Johnson Middle School on James Island where art teacher Kit Loney and her students will cover it with paper-mache and paint it to match the historic lighthouse.
Fort Johnson students will bring both art and academic skills to the project, studying the structure's history, reading about lighthouses and using math to prepare accurate scale plans for their model.
The James Island PSD Fire Department is providing logistical assistance and the functional, rotating light that will go atop the structure. Save the Light Inc., which is working to preserve the lighthouse, will provide historic information, drawings, volunteers and technical information on lighthouses to help with planning and construction.
Lowe's is assisting the project by providing work space, materials and technical advice on construction methods and materials. The lighthouse is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 1.
Full details on the project, volunteer information and a list of needed materials can be found on the Web at www.savethelight.org. Fort Johnson Middle School needs a large number of brown paper bags to make the paper-mache walls of the lighthouse.
First Night 2000 Charleston will set up the lighthouse in Marion Square on New Year's as part of this year's milestone New Year's celebration. "Illuminating the Millennium" is the theme of this year's celebration.