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Ripon Unified keeps Measure G promise
colony oaks
Bob Prewitt, who was Colony Oak’s first principal, was among those in attendance at the grand re-opening.

Gabbi Ilardi remembered the many months of construction that took place at Colony Oak Elementary School during her years there.

Sure it was loud, dusty and, at times, an inconvenience.

But when all was said and done the voter-approved Measure G modernization project of Ripon Unified was a school that Illardi and others proudly called “their own.”

The current Ripon High freshman and others were among the guest speakers at Monday’s grand re-opening ceremony/open house event.

“This is a remarkable project,” said Measure G Oversight Committee Chairman Tim Hern, who is familiar with school construction and was impressed with how those involved with Colony Oak got the most bang for the buck as compared to other school districts. 

“We have a school that we’re proud to call our own.”

Colony Oak had a few challenges along the way such as rising costs in construction, the need for a new water well, acquiring adjacent land, and doing the rebuild while school was still in session in order to keep students on campus.

Many in attendance — included were Superintendent Ziggy Robeson and school board, San Joaquin County Office of Education Superintendent James Mousalimas, state Assemblyman Heath Flora, Colony Oak Principal Cheryl Griffiths, the school’s first-ever principal Bob Prewitt, for district superintendent and Ripon City Councilman Leo Zuber, to name a few — at the grand re-opening thanked the community for making possible this  portion of the $25.2 million bond measure passed in 2012.

Weston Elementary School was the first of these two major projects completed.

“We saw the rebuild from beginning to end,” said current Colony Oak leader Jenna Skavdahl, who mentioned the recent demolition of the old portables as part of that process. “We saw the whole dream come together.”

This dream turned reality, according to Mousalimas, is that of 21st Century classrooms to support the always growing curriculum.

Students and their parents also attended open house held after the special event.

The official first day back from the summer break for RUSD was the following day, Tuesday.

Savannah Chapman and Franco Garcia, who were among the student speakers, enjoyed their remodeled campus, in particular, the modern restrooms and sinks along with new technology in the classrooms.

Classmate Emery Biedermann added: “I think our new school is cool.”

Robeson thanked those involved with the school remodel — WLC Architects , consultants Caldwell Flores Winters Inc., and the Escalon-based CT Brayton & Sons Construction.

“We have exceeded the objective of Measure G,” she said. “We’ve done that and more.”