Come Saturday at 1:30 p.m., South Gallia's students, parents, faculty and staff will have another reason to have a party.
That's when ground will be broken for the new SGHS behind the current building at Mercerville. It is the second such ceremony in the wake of the passage of a 7.4-mill bond issue that will finance the new South Gallia as well as another River Valley High School, in addition to renovations to Gallia County Local Schools' elementary buildings.
Groundbreaking for the new RVHS, to be built off Ohio 850 at Bidwell, was held last weekend.
“It's going to enhance what we've been doing for the past 10 years,” SGHS Principal Scot West said about the new school. “We have improved academically as evidenced by our performance on the state report card, and we have improved athletically in the advances made this fall by our football team.
“A new building will only enhance our progress,” West added.
A site plan for South Gallia's construction was approved by the Gallia County Local Board of Education at its Oct. 23 meeting. The new building will replace what was Hannan Trace High School, opened in 1961, that became South Gallia in 1996.
West said the ceremony will be similar to RVHS' groundbreaking, including a bean dinner. All alumni, former board members, teachers and staff are invited.
Pastor Dean Warner of Mercerville Baptist Church will open the ceremony with an invocation, followed by the pledge of allegiance, led by Senior Class President Elizabeth Miller, who will also serve as the school representative for the event.
The national anthem will be sung by the combined choirs of South Gallia and River Valley, and in keeping with the Veterans Day observation for Saturday, veterans will be recognized by Pat Stout, the district's instructional services director.
The board of education and guests will be recognized by Dr. Charla Evans, the district's superintendent, while Hannan Trace Elementary Principal Rochelle Finley will honor alumni in attendance. Evans will address the audience, followed by remarks from Bill Swain, co-chair of the Quality Schools for Quality Kids Committee that campaigned for the bond issue's passage last year.
Leda Harrison will represent South Gallia's faculty and Board President Terry Halley will also speak, along with architect Steve Dzuranin of Fanning, Howey and Associates, which has designed the new high schools.
The meal will be served after the groundbreaking, with Warner providing the benediction and blessing.