from The Sunday Times-Sentinel (8-16-09)
“We have demonstrated that we value education,” Patrick Stout said prior to a ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication of the new South Gallia High School on Saturday, kicking off a weekend of celebrating new secondary schools in Gallia County.
Stout, curriculum director of the Gallia County Local Schools and a former principal, was one of several speakers congratulating the community and voters in the school district who supported passage of a 2005 bond issue.
That bond issue made possible the new South Gallia, as well as a new River Valley High School and renovations to the elementaries.
Stout filled in for Superintendent Dr. Charla Evans, who has been hospitalized for tests and was unable to attend the dedication.
He relayed several thoughts from her, thanking the public for their support of the Quality Education for Quality Kids campaign that pushed for the bond issue’s passage. She also recognized the backing of Holzer Clinic and Holzer Medical Center, each pledging $500,000 for the construction of science labs in the new schools.
“That kind of commitment speaks volumes to the people of Gallia County,” Stout said.
Stout announced that contractors on the South Gallia project have informed officials they have yet to finish work on portions of the building. Students will start the new school year on Aug. 26 at the old South Gallia next door, and will move into the new structure when contractors turn over the keys to administrators.
Bill Davis, the owner’s representative who oversaw the building’s progress for the board, said the classroom and facilities design was done with the students in mind.
“It doesn’t have the frills or bells and whistles,” he said. “They put their money into the classrooms and students.”
But the reality of new facilities remains an exciting prospect for the South Gallia community, reflected on the faces of children, parents and citizens alike who were able to tour the building.
“What the community did was a great thing, a remarkable thing for the children of our county,” Board of Education President Terry Halley said as he reflected on the work of the volunteers who worked on the Quality Kids movement. “What has made this effort worthwhile is the look on the faces of the children.
“This is something the county can be proud of. Therefore, this building belongs to you,” he added.
“It’s been a long road, but it’s been worth it every inch of the way,” added Clair Howey of Fanning Howey and Associates, the building’s designer.
Howey also praised Charla Evans’ dedication to the new schools, helping oversee each project.
“She is the glue that cemented this project together,” he said.
Also speaking during the ceremony were State Sen. John Carey, who presented the school with a state flag; State Rep. Clyde Evans, who presented a commendation from the Ohio House of Representatives; and Gallia County Commissioner Justin Fallon.
Fallon told the students that he shares in their excitement when he recalls his feelings on entering the new Southwestern Elementary in 1985.
“Congratulations to the parents and grandparents who showed they believe in the future of Gallia County,” Fallon said.
David Stiffler of the Gallia-Vinton Educational Service Center Governing Board sang the national anthem and South Gallia teacher Leda Harrison read aloud a poem, “Building Bridges,” that fit the mood of the occasion. Musical selections were offered by the South Gallia and River Valley choirs under the direction of Cassandra Thompson. Invocation was by Tina Johnson, another member of the school’s faculty, and the benediction was by Pastor Raymond Witmer.
Dedication of the new River Valley at Bidwell was held Saturday afternoon.
A “Jamboree Game” football scrimmage to raise funds for new athletic facilities at South Gallia and River Valley was held at the old RVHS Saturday night. A large crowd witnessed an exciting 16-14 victory by the South Gallia Rebels to wrap up an all-around eventful day for Gallia County.