Ground Broken for River Elementary

The Switzerland of Ohio Local School District reached a milestone Friday with a groundbreaking for River Elementary School – the last in a series of such ceremonies in the district’s extensive building program.

River Elementary School is the consolidation of Hannibal and Sardis elementary schools. It will be connected to River High School.

Ed Trifonoff will remain principal of River High School; Rob Caldwell will be principal of the elementary.

Among those attending the groundbreaking were school board members, principals in the district and former state Rep. Jennifer Garrison, who played a role in the deal that allowed the district to build six new schools.

Voters in 2009 approved a $35 million bond issue, providing the local share of funding for the $88 million initiative.

“(Garrison) was the driving force behind the building project, working behind the scenes at state level making the building project here in Switzerland a reality,” said Superintendent Larry Elliott. “As far as the school district, it is wonderful to see the building coming to fruition. It has been a long road for a lot of the students involved here in the school district.”

Garrison began to work on the building project when she saw that the students of Monroe Central High School were in makeshift classrooms in modular buildings behind Swiss Hills Career Center in 2005 during her campaign.

“I told myself that with the term limits, you can be in the Ohio House for eight years; if I have one goal I want to accomplish in that time … it would be assisting (the people of Monroe County) with the ability to pass a levy to where they can actually afford to get new schools,” said Garrison.

Caldwell and Trifonoff were among the other speakers at the groundbreaking. Students from Sardis, Hannibal and River High School attended.