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Makeover for Colony Oak set to start in 2017
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Construction will begin on renovating Colony Oak Elementary School in 2017.
As it stands, the final design plans were sent to the Division of State Architects in Sacramento not too long ago as part of an estimated three-month process.
The modernization of Colony Oak is the second part of the Measure G projects as approved by voters in 2012. Weston Elementary School was renovated the previous year.
According to plans – as designed by WLC Architects, CT Brayton & Sons of Escalon serving as contractors for the lease / leaseback project – Colony Oak will be converted into a Science Technology Engineering Mathematics or STEM campus.
The school will also have a circular drop-off area / fire lane added to an access road along the East Santos Avenue entrance. Some of the portables will remain in place and be used for the custodial staff and storage.
As for students, they’ll remain on campus during construction unlike Weston, where youngsters there were bused to other Ripon Unified sites.
In other happenings in the past 12 months:

RHS stadium
The wheels were set in motion last summer for Stouffer Field to finally get new bleachers.
Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Ripon Community Athletic Foundation along with help from the school district – the board approved $250,000 in one-time funds – the stadium at Ripon High is expected to have pre-manufactured bleachers coupled with new concrete for an ADA access ramp and new concrete pavement.
RCAF described the old stadium bleacher seats as “dilapidated” and “condemnable.”
This non-profit grassroots organization that started in 2007 will continue fundraising for new restrooms.
RCAF also announced that the ‘Rina’s Run’ – a major fundraiser scheduled for May 13 – will be the last one.

School board
RUSD bid farewell in November to Mike Fisher.
For the past eight year, he served on the school board through some good times and tough times.
Fisher, who opted not to run for another term during the recent elections due health-related issues, was recognized by his colleagues for his leadership, in particular, during the 2008 recession.
“Mr. Fisher came to us during some tough financial times,” Trustee Kit Oase said. “He helped make cuts which were not an easy task.”
Fisher was also in the forefront of restoring many of those cuts years later once funding became available.
He’s a product of RUSD. At RHS, Fisher was a three-sport athlete and active in FFA.
He was replaced on the board by Caroline Hutto, who recently was unopposed for his Trustee Area 4 seat.
Christina Orlando was also unchallenged for her Trustee Area 5 post. She and Hutto were administered the oath of office at the December school board meeting.

New RHS principal
Keith Rangel took over as principal at Ripon High in July.
The former vice principal at the school replaced Lance Morrow, who spent the past eight years as the RHS principal prior to moving over to Buhach Colony High in Atwater.
He taught at East Union High before becoming principal at Lincoln Unified’s Colonial Heights Elementary School. At RHS, Morrow was credited for expanding the Agriculture Department and adding Animal Science Pathway and creating Ag Mechanics and Ag Fabrication.
Rangel is a RHS Class of 1995 graduate. He was VP for the school since 2011 and taught P.E., Health Education and Special Education.
In addition, Rangel coached track, football and wrestling during his 16 years at RUSD.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, email