District commemorates end of construction


Delaware City Schools celebrated the conclusion of a lengthy construction and renovation campaign this week.

A ribbon cutting event Wednesday night at Hayes High School commemorated the official end of projects at every elementary school, Dempsey Middle School, and Hayes High School. After the ribbon cutting, attendees were given a tour of the new spaces at Hayes and were invited to tour the other buildings in the district.

“We’re here today to mark the end of a multi-year journey,” said Delaware City Schools Superintendent Paul Craft. “I had someone ask me the other day how many years was this [project] and it’s arguable that it was a 15-year-old year journey from when this concept started in the early 2000s when we saw the growth coming. We were finally able to put the plan in motion in 2013.”

In 2013, voters in Delaware approved a 3.6-mill bond issue for Delaware City Schools that aimed to expand and renovate every school in the district to accommodate the rapidly growing population in district. The five elementary schools each gain extra classrooms and other spaces. Dempsey gained a new wing to accommodate sixth-graders and the high school gained a new academic wing of 22 classrooms.

“We got 62 percent of the vote, which doesn’t happen until you match what the community wants,” Craft said. “We’ve spent the last three years [building]. To say the process was long and challenging and included rocky patches would not be incorrect. With that said, we designed and constructed additions at seven buildings that have improved our safety, improved our security, and, most importantly, our ability to teach, and we finished every one of those projects on time and on budget.”

Craft thanked the City of Delaware, including City Manager Tom Homan and Mayor Carolyn K. Riggle, for its help during the planning and execution phases of the project.

Director of Facilities and Transportation Jason Sherman specifically thanked all the contractors and subcontractors that worked on the various projects.

Hayes Principal Ric Stranges said the new wing of 22 classrooms would be mostly used to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and announced that the new wing would be named The Rowland Wing, after Nobel laureate and Delaware native Frank Sherwood Rowland.

“How many high schools get to name a space in a building after a Nobel prize winner? We’re so proud,” Stranges said. “Rowland was born in Delaware and he discovered chlorofluorocarbons, which hairsprays, refrigerators, and air conditioners give off. In 1995, the FDA and EPA discovered that was causing big danger to the ozone. He probably saved our lives.”

Stranges said Rowland was awarded the Nobel prize after sprays that contained chlorofluorocarbons were banned by the EPA.

“He’s an inspiration to me,” Stranges said. “He’s an inspiration to our staff, our students, and our community. This space provides the opportunity for students to discover, to fail, to succeed, to test, to hypothesize, to invent, to observe, to identify, to experiment, to learn, to share, and to dream. Thank you, Sherwood Rowland, for inspiring our students and faculty now and for generations to come.”

Rowland passed away in 2012, but Stranges then read a letter from Rowland’s daughter, Ingrid, who is a professor at Notre Dame College and could not attend. In the letter, Ingrid thanks the district.

“My family is deeply grateful that you have decided to dedicate your new science center to the memory of my father,” she wrote. “He was an extraordinarily loyal son of Delaware and always felt he received an outstanding education in his schools. Above all, he was devoted to fostering the love of science among young people. There can be no more appropriate or higher honor to his memory than the one you have reserved for him.”

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Delaware City Schools Board President Deb Rafeld cuts the ribbon on the new entrance at Delaware Hayes High School Wednesday evening. From left to right, Student Board Member Charlie Zimmerman, Board Member Francis O’Flaherty, Board Member Ted Backus, Board President Deb Rafeld, Board Vice President Matthew Weller, Superintendent Paul Craft, and Board Member Jayna McDaniel-Browning.
http://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2017/08/web1_DSC_0424.jpgDelaware City Schools Board President Deb Rafeld cuts the ribbon on the new entrance at Delaware Hayes High School Wednesday evening. From left to right, Student Board Member Charlie Zimmerman, Board Member Francis O’Flaherty, Board Member Ted Backus, Board President Deb Rafeld, Board Vice President Matthew Weller, Superintendent Paul Craft, and Board Member Jayna McDaniel-Browning. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

Delaware Hayes Principal Ric Stranges reads a letter from Ingrid Rowland, the daughter of Nobel laureate and Delaware native Frank Sherwood Rowland, who thanked the district for naming the new academic wing at Hayes in memory of her father.
http://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2017/08/web1_DSC_0448.jpgDelaware Hayes Principal Ric Stranges reads a letter from Ingrid Rowland, the daughter of Nobel laureate and Delaware native Frank Sherwood Rowland, who thanked the district for naming the new academic wing at Hayes in memory of her father. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette
New wing dedicated to Nobel laureate

By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@delgazette.com

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.