Denver Public Schools and Verizon Wireless Partner to Build New Outdoor Education Facility at Balarat

DENVER — Today, officials from Denver Public Schools and Verizon Wireless dedicated a new cabin at the Balarat Outdoor Education Center. The new structure, made possible by a $70,000 donation from Verizon Wireless, will be used as a center for the study of pioneers.

"Verizon Wireless has made a significant contribution to this project and is by far our largest donor," said Patrick Emery, Balarat program coordinator. "The financial support from Verizon Wireless made it possible for us to completely rebuild the cabin rather than try to renovate it, as we had originally planned."

Verizon Wireless, which donates $25,000 per year to the Balarat Scholarship Fund, in addition to other donations, has contributed more than $90,000 to the program over the last two years.

"Verizon Wireless is committed to making a positive difference in local communities," said Marni Walden, regional president for Verizon Wireless in the Mountain Region.

"We hope that supporting programs like Balarat will encourage young people to value our environment and help them develop a love for the outdoors."

The new ranch house will be the center for such learning activities as making hand dipped candles and baking biscuits using a wood burning stove. Although the original building was old, it didn't accurately reflect the late 1800's. The new cabin has been built to be more authentic and look more like a home built by Colorado pioneers of the 1890's.

"My students are excited and our staff is excited," said Erik Hurst, a teacher at Balarat for seven years. "The new ranch house lends itself well to what were trying to get accomplished here with our fifth grade students."

About Balarat

The Balarat Outdoor Education Center is a 700 acre, district owned facility which is located in the foothills northwest of Boulder. Balarat activities encompass three different foci: environmental experience, conservation learning and outdoor education. The center is the central feature of a multi-faceted program, which offers a variety of educational opportunities. Balarat's educational mission is to augment that which is occurring within the classroom and to link theory to experience through directed opportunities in a natural setting.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 25 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp -- now Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) -- and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (NYSE: VOD; LSE). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The new company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: