That hasn’t been the case for the thousands of children who have passed through the halls of the schools in the Gallipolis City School District.
But it is now.
District officials held dedication ceremonies this past Saturday at the brand new Green and Rio Grande elementary schools and the newly-renovated Washington Elementary, capping off another phase of construction that, by the end of 2011, will complete a total makeover of the district.
One theme that was common throughout the proceedings at each school was how pleasant it is to attend class and teach in buildings that feature up-to-date technology and air conditioning. Several of the individuals who spoke during each dedication made mention of that fact.
For the school district, Saturday was a time to celebrate achievements of the recent past, specifically the Red Dot for Kids campaign winning voter approval of the bond issue in November 2005, and a time to look forward to greater achievement academically in environments designed carefully to foster learning. Architect Mike Dingeldein from SHP Leading Design noted in his remarks that each school was not only fitted with updated educational technology, but also the latest in energy-efficient technology to create a safer and healthier environment for children.
Each of the buildings is a work of art in its own right. Green and Rio Grande are masterpieces of the modern sort, with bright colors, broad hallways, spacious classrooms and multi-purpose cafetoriums. The unique design of each building gives Green and Rio Grande their own personality, which will only be enhanced as students and teachers lend their creative touch.
Meanwhile, Washington Elementary retains the character and warmth of its original early 20th Century design interwoven with the modern elements also found at Green and Rio Grande. The richness of the woodwork and other craftsmanship found throughout the building is greatly enhanced by the modern renovation.
One aspect of the dedication ceremonies that was particularly enjoyable was the opportunity the administration afforded current students to have a part in each of the proceedings. Llana Johnson spoke at Washington, Nicholas Denbow addressed the crowd at Green and Lane Pullins spoke to those who gathered at Rio Grande. It was both interesting and informative to hear the perspective of students and experience the school pride of each one who spoke.
PTO presidents Angie Burns (Washington), Dreama Hamid (Green) and Amee Rees (Rio Grande) also offered their thoughts during the ceremonies.
Other notable moments from the day’s events included Washington Elementary teacher Ann Sickels reading a poem she penned for the occasion at her school; Judge Dean Evans relating memories of his days as a student at Washington; former Green school board member George Woodward giving the audience a brief history lesson about Green and how it came to be part of the Gallipolis City School District; current board of education member J.R. Sauer stating that (hopefully) his kids won’t be the first ones to mark up a wall at the new Green Elementary; and State Rep. Clyde Evans, a native of Rio Grande, reminiscing about attending classes at Rio Grande Elementary when it was located on the site of the current village municipal building.
For the Gallipolis City School District, the opening of these new and renovated school buildings will stand as an historic point in time that should be joyfully celebrated and fondly remembered. As a community, our hope is that these buildings will serve our children well for many years to come, that we will maintain them properly and that we will teach our children about the importance and value of obtaining a good education.