Students get fresh start in Ravenna

By Heather Deeley Record-Courier staff writer Published:

It was back to business at Ravenna High School as summer vacation ended for students and repair work was finished after two devastating fires.

Students at the high school walked into a spotless building, which underwent major repairs by A.R. Goodman Construction Co. throughout the summer. The smell of smoke has left the building, Principal James Betts said, leaving little trace of last year's fires.

Biology teacher Sheila Stefansic reclaimed Room 605 that was destroyed in the no-fault Feb. 28 fire. Still awaiting desks and linoleum flooring to be installed in mid-September, the room is freshly painted and temporarily supplied with tables for students. The roof above the lab was also replaced, Betts said.

A computer lab has been supplied with 20 new computers this year after extensive smoke damage from the Feb. 28 fire and a new clock and bell system was installed throughout the school due to smoke damage in the June 16 fire that was ruled arson. At this time, no one has been arrested for the crime.

Clegg Concrete Inc. is pouring new sidewalks across the front of the school from the auditorium to the new driveway. The cracked and crumbling sidewalk was a safety hazard, Wisniewski said.

"It needed to be done," Betts said. "When the new high school is built, the building will be used for something else."

As students experienced a new beginning Monday, it was the end of an era for Gilcrest Stadium.

Nowak Construction of Ravenna began tearing down bleachers on the south side of the field Monday _ and with a sense of appreciation, said Bill Wisniewski, director of business operations for the city.

"I couldn't help but notice how they were dismantling it," Wisniewski said. "They were laying down the boards gently and stacking them. It was like there was a sense of respect."

Rummel Electric Inc. cut the power at Gilcrest before the dismantling began on the estimated $21,000 job. Electricity will remain at the field house, where the Ravens are dressing before games until the locker rooms are installed at the new stadium, Wisniewski said. The field house will remain on the Gilcrest site indefinitely. Gilcrest field also will be used as an alternative practice spot.

"Gilcrest has a rich and beautiful history of fans and players who participated (throughout) the years," Wisniewski said. "We want to respect the history of tradition there and we intend to use the small, brick ticket booths somehow to keep some of the history and the memory alive. We'd like to incorporate the bricks in the landscaping at the new site, as well as the Ravens Roost and Gilcrest signs."

Wisniewski said he has received several requests for grandstand seats as keepsakes. The numbered wooden boards will be available for $10 each at the Development Office by calling 296-3844, ext. 3109.

The demolition will continue for about two weeks, Wisniewski said,

during which the public is advised to stay off the site and watch the

demolition from outside the fence to avoid injury.

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