SHELBY – It was a night to celebrate.
Shelby City Schools held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday night for the new Pre-K-8 building. Around 100 people, including a number of dignitaries, turned out for the festivities, which included self-guided tours.
Superintendent Tim Tarvin, who recently announced he will be retiring at the end of this school year, welcomed the crowd.
Noting that he was a social studies teacher before becoming an administrator, Tarvin gave a four-year history lesson about the creation of the new school.
That didn’t look promising after residents turned down three bond issues in 12 months.
Shelby City Schools has partnered with the OFCC on the project
The project remained alive when the school board voted in 2019 to participate in the Ohio Facilities Building Commission’s Classroom Facilities Assistance Program.
The state would provide money for the construction of the new $38.5 million school as long as the district offered its local game. Residents were not taxed and paid nothing for the building project. The majority of the home game came from Rover Pipeline revenue.
In 2019, the council hired Garmann Miller as an architect and Adena Corp. to manage construction. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 23, 2020.
“Two years later, we’re sitting here,” Tarvin said.
He credited the Board of Education, which “has always supported anything that is in the best interests of children”.
Tarvin acknowledged former superintendents Steve Bell and Bryan Neff and thanked teachers and staff before naming a number of people who helped with the project.
He singled out Scott Harvey, the District Buildings and Grounds Supervisor, for his “loyalty, perseverance and dedication to excellence”.
Paul Walker, assistant superintendent and program director, was tasked with proposing handling of the 155,000 square feet of space for a facility that houses 1,350 students.
He and Barb Green, the college principal, addressed the crowd. Green noted not only the new building, but also the high school, which opened in 2013.
The district now has all students on one campus.
Two students read essays about what the new school means to them
Two years ago, students Salem Keller and Arabella Ream read essays at the groundbreaking ceremony. They were back on Wednesday with new trials.
“I speak for all students when I say this is an upgrade from the previous school,” Keller said.
Ream said she enjoyed “the clean learning environment with lots of natural light.” She said the expansive learning areas make studying fun, and the six queues allow students to get their food faster and have more time to eat.
Both students received a high-five from Tarvin after reading their essays.
Tarvin then released a time-lapse video of the construction project before Board Chair Lorie White delivered remarks.
“More than 10 years ago, we formed a committee to determine the future needs of students,” she said.
The committee recommended the replacement of all aging buildings in the neighborhood.
“And then the fun started,” White said.
Shelby Mayor Steve Schag recalled the artist’s rendering of the building and noted that it was now a reality.
“It will positively impact hundreds of families for decades to come,” he said.
State Representative Marilyn John congratulated the community and its students. She sent two children to schools in the town of Shelby.
“When you drive through a community, you can tell what their priorities are,” John said. “At Shelby, we put our kids first.”
The COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges for the project
Representatives from Garmann Miller and Adena Corp. spoke about the challenges of the project during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We never lost sight of the goal,” said Ryan Payne, building operations manager for Adena. “This project signified the world that our business needed to be a part of. It was a must as members of this community.”
Payne said 210 of the company’s 250 employees live in Richland or an adjoining county.
In his closing remarks to the hour-long ceremony, Tarvin said, “We’re a little biased, but we think Shelby is a great place to live.”
It’s even better with this new school.