Milestone attained as ground broken for River school

HANNIBAL – A milestone was reached when the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District had a groundbreaking Friday for River Elementary School as it was the last in a series of such ceremonies in the district’s massive building program.

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

Ed Trifonoff will remain the principal of River High School, and Rob Caldwell will continue as principal of the elementary schools.

Among those in attendance for the groundbreaking were school board members, principals in the school district and former state Rep. Jennifer Garrison. Garrison was credited for being the reason for Switzerland of Ohio Local School District was able to built the six new schools in the district.

“(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 trailers 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 the event.

Caldwell thanked everyone for their patience, ending his speak with “Good things come to those who wait.”

“I knew when I took this job, that there was going to be a renovation; I did not understand that it was going to be this extensive,” said Trifonoff, who is a graduate of River High School. “I need to thank my faculty and staff, if it wasn’t for you, I don’t know if I would still be here … Lastly, I want to thank our students, you have been probably the best group of students that I have seen, there could have been times where you could have gone where you could have taken the wrong path, but you didn’t … To the senior class, I know you have endured a lot, but just remember, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish … But this experience, and you may not realize it now, this experience will make you a better person as you peruse your career and further your education … So to the seniors, my hat is off to you for how wonderful you were this year.”

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