Hundreds gathered Labor Day weekend for the dedication of the new Girard Junior and Senior High School which school and state officials agree will be key in helping to prepare students to get the education they need to compete in the 21st century.
Superintendent Joseph Jeswald said the new $26 million, 130,000-square-foot school at 1244 Shannon Road is the ''dawn of a new era after 86 years at the high school on Ward Avenue.''
The public had the opportunity to tour the school and take part in the ribbon cutting and dedication.The school's cafeteria / auditorium was decorated with black and red balloons for the event.
Congressman Tim Ryan speaks at the opening and dedication in September of the new Girard High School complex for grades seventh to 12th. Watching are Girard Board of Education members, at right, Diane Alejars, Richard Rees and Mark Zuppo.
Jeswald said the school will provide the environment for advanced opportunity in learning and expressed gratitude to the community for its support.
The school was constructed on a 25-acre site off Shannon Road and has 47 classrooms, four computer labs, two gyms, and classrooms with junior high classes mainly on the first floor and high school classes mainly on the second floor.
The state covered 80 percent of the costs for the school with a 3.8-mill local bond levy passed in May 2007 covering the other costs.
Caroline Standohar, president of the senior class, said her class will be the first to graduate from the new school and expressed thanks to all who made the school possible.
Gov. Ted Strickland said the state is committed to providing students with a 21st-century education and in Girard students will now have a 21st century school.
He said as of June, the Ohio School Facilities Commission has opened 739 new or renovated buildings in 243 districts in the state with an additional 112 school buildings being designed and 175 under construction.
High School Principal William Ryser said everyone can take pride in the school system with the new school preparing future generations
"Girard is making a name for itself and doing great things,'' Ryser said.
Strickland said the new building has the technology and the equipment to help the teachers and students.
"The students will receive a 21st century education with this building. Girard is committed to help students thrive and be successful in life ... We have to challenge and inspire our children ... We are investing in our children's education today and for generations to come,'' he said.
Strickland said even in difficult financial times, the public had put children first.
Junior High School Principal Louise Mason said, ''Girard residents graciously gave students the opportunity to learn in a new beautiful junior-senior high school where new traditions, new goals and new accomplishments will be seen.''
Congressman Tim Ryan said young people leave Girard schools to contribute all over the world. "Today is not just a win for Girard but a win for the entire community," Ryan said.
Board President Richard Rees said, ''there is a sense of great pride with the new school. We as a community are very proud of this new facility. The real work is just beginning with the continued excellence of the school system, increased opportunity to advance learning and skill development.''
The old high school on Ward Avenue, built in 1924, is scheduled for demolition early next year.