For inquiring minds that want to know, it is not with funds from the Permanent Improvement levy passed a year ago this November. It is with funds designated almost three years ago at the final closeout of the elementary school building project when Mr. Pat Kimble was Superintendent and Mrs. Vivian Armour was Treasurer.
Over a decade ago, the RULH Board of Education and the Superintendent made an agreement with the village of Ripley to build a shelter house structure on school grounds at the conclusion of the new elementary school building project. This agreement was made in exchange for the village donating the land that was then in use as a park for the new school. As many citizens of Ripley will remember, the old park included restrooms and a small shelter house.
The next logical question is why has it taken so long as the elementary school has been occupied for several years. The biggest reason is that although the elementary building has been in use, the building project with the state didn’t close until Feb. 20, 2013 due to a variety of legal issues with the roof.
These concerns were finally addressed and Mr. Kimble and Mrs. Armour both saw the building project through to its conclusion and close out with the state. Shortly after that, Mrs. Armour retired and, about six months later, Mr. Kimble did the same. With the subsequent changes in superintendent and treasurer, it took some time to put together the pieces and move forward.
Once the school district’s new treasurer Mr. Jeff Rowley and myself had been advised of the need to fulfill this decade-old obligation, we discussed the project with the village, then contacted an architectural firm, K-4 Designs, to design the structure and begin the initial steps as required by Ohio law. When finished, the structure will include a shelter area, small restrooms, concession room, and storage. The completed structure will be located to the east of the basketball court, in the grassy area between the playground and US 52. We will also be incorporating into the structure a memorial marble water fountain that was donated to the park area years ago in memory of a former Ripley student.
I have talked with various area residents about the old park and shelter house, and understand from those conversations that there are many good memories of the park and its facilities being used for family events and group picnics like Little League and church groups. I hope the new structure can be used for many years by similar groups for future activities.
The facility will also be of great use to the elementary school for many outside educational activities, such as science experiments, reading and writing activities, and math labs, as well as field days and other special events. I think there will be no shortage of school and community groups wanting to use the structure for a variety of worthwhile events.
The final structure will measure 42 x 34.