BERLIN — For the second consecutive year, Worcester Prep School (WPS) held its Race for Excellence fundraiser last Friday with money raised going toward the renovation of the school’s multipurpose room. After several years in the pipeline, construction on the new multipurpose room is slated to begin this summer so that it will be ready for use when students return in the fall.

According to WPS Assistant Director of Development Betsy Hornung, the multipurpose room has become cramped as the school’s population has grown. The renovations will serve to make the area larger and more inclusive and more modern.

“So we’re raising money to kind of push it out and expand it. We’ve got more kids now and it’s getting crowded so we’re going to add some features to it, and this is the final push to finish the fundraising for it,” she said. “We’re at the point where the construction for it is going to start this summer so it’s going to be completed in time for the kids to come back in September.”

Dedicated fundraising for the renovations began with the first Race for Excellence last year, though WPS has had other events and programs contribute money to the project. This year’s Race for Excellence has raised more than $30,000 alone, according to WPS Director of Development Marion Connolly.

This year’s event included the added bonus of a friendly rivalry between the lower and middle schools.

“So we had a friendly competition between the lower school and the middle school just based on participation,” said Hornung. “It really doesn’t have to do with the money raised.”

Because there was greater participation from the middle school at WPS, Celeste Bunting, lower school head, had to wash the car of Mike Grosso, the middle school head, in front of students and faculty. Bunting, who had never washed a car before, received a hand when WPS Headmaster Dr. Barry Tull volunteered to share the duty. The long-awaited renovations for the multipurpose room, said Tull, were worth the work.

“It’s very necessary and our multipurpose room, which serves mainly as our dining hall, has been overcrowded for several years, and this new addition will enable us to put in professional grade serving areas, expand the table space, additional spaces for lockers, things that I think will really improve the life of our students on a day-by-day basis,” he said.

After the public car washing on Friday morning, the actual “race” portion of Race for Excellence was held in the early afternoon on the WPS campus. Both the lower and middle school participated with an added competitive factor for older students. The three students in middle school to complete the most laps during the event were recognized and awarded trophies. But just like the car washing, Hornung said that any rivalry was all in good fun with everyone’s main objective was the completion of the new project.

Community support both years has been fantastic, noted Tull, with parents, alumni and others involved with WPS understanding how important it is for the school’s infrastructure to grow with its students.

“Everyone recognizes the need in our school community and has stepped forward,” he said. “It’s been a very successful project and this Race for Excellence has just been icing on the cake.”

Besides the primary goal of raising funds for renovations, Hornung also commented on how Race for Excellence is a “multidimensional fundraiser” since it encourages students to play an active role not just running during the event in the afternoon but also having a hand in community outreach and teamwork while raising donations.