Students made their return to the classroom at Ripon Unified on Wednesday.
For Cheryl Griffiths, this was a welcoming sight.
“I’m always get excited about the first day of school,” said the Colony Oak Elementary School principal.
This is her third year at Colony Oak, which incidentally will be going through a remodel later in the year thanks to the voter-approved Measure G bonds.
Some of the work will begin in September. But nothing too exciting at this point, Griffiths said.
“We’re looking at placing fences on the eastern field in the area where the new water and septic systems will be placed,” she noted. “We’ll lose a little of our play area (soccer field).”
The goal is to have this system completed by the November break and the construction fencing to be in place.
Griffiths is hoping for a best-case scenario of the actual building of the classrooms to start in December.
For the past 24 months, she’s been part of the RUSD group involved with the entire process, from the initial planning to the hiring of the architect and contractors.
As a result, Colony Oak will soon become a STEM campus – as in Science Technology Engineering Math – with the new permanent structures going on the current black top play area and an added three more acres to the back of the school.
Griffiths pointed out that the work crew will be using Santos Avenue, thus, freeing up busy Murphy Road to through traffic.
Colony Oak has several plans in place during the construction stages, including three rather than two recesses to minimize the number of students in the play areas.
Portable basketball hoops and tetherball equipment will be brought in.
“The good thing is that we get to stay here,” Griffiths said.
That wasn’t the case for Weston Elementary School. Students were shuffled off to the various RUSD campuses during that one year of the campus makeover made possible by Measure G.
“That was the three things parents wanted of Colony Oak (during reconstruction) – for students to stay on campus, safety (along Murphy Road), and for it to be STEM campus,” said Superintendent Sigrid ‘Ziggy’ Robeson.
She is also the former principal at Colony Oak. Robeson stopped by her old school while making her rounds to the various district school sites on the first day of school.
“We had a fabulous first day,” she said.
RUSD also introduced several new administrators at the kindergarten- through- eighth- grade school sites, including Gregory Elliott as principal at Ripona and Eva Matthews as the Park View principal.
At Colony Oak, Griffiths reported 430 students on Day 1 while announcing five new teachers for this school year – Miranda Lucas (kindergarten), Tricia Brown (first grade), Kristi Rigg (third grade), Kathy Diederich (learning center) and Linda Villa (learning center).
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.