Brown Township broke ground Wednesday on a $1.4 million township hall on the sight of the old Brown High School.
Construction of the hall was possible with a $1.1 million gift from the Charles and Betty Sheets Fund of the Delaware County Foundation. The Sheets Family gifted 209 acres of land to the foundation who sold the land and the proceeds going to the township for the construction of the hall.
“The township kicked in $382,000,” said Trustee Gary Stegner. He said when the trustees were approached about the $1.1 million gift, “We had no idea of what was going on.”
In the construction specifications, the Sheets family made a few requests.
The first, it was to be built on the site of the old Brown High School that was originally constructed in 1917 with an addition added around 1936. It was torn down in 2010.
“I went to school there for 12-years,” said Charles Sheets. “I went there from 1932 until 1944 when I graduated.”
The Sheets family wanted the hall to last for many more generations and be a part of their legacy.
“The building had to be all brick construction, said Charles Sheets. “It had to have a display case in it to tell about the legacy of the Sheets family.”
Charles Sheets said his family has lived in or near Kilbourne since 1835. He said he purchased the property his family lives on today in 1950.
Charles Sheets turned 91 in May.
Marlene Casini, The Delaware County Foundation, said the organization is the steward of charitable money that is given throughout the county. She said the Sheets gift was the second largest the foundation had received.
“This is a pretty exceptional gift,” Casini said. “The Sheets had been thinking about it for several years. Sometimes with that significant a gift it takes awhile to get comfortable with giving it.”
Casini said not all gifts need be $1 million. She said they can also be small gifts that will still make a difference.
Casini said there was a lot of thought that went into the Brown Township gift from the Sheets.
“Charles and Betty Sheets had the vision and assets to make it happen,” she said.
According to Stegner, the new hall will be 5,200 square feet with a warming kitchen, an office for the fiscal officer, a trustee conference room and a fireproof room for all of the township’s documents.
He said the township is expecting the building to be completed by November or December with the official dedication in late April.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.