District welcomes community to new GHS

Gering Public Schools Superintendent Bob Hastings points out how the old library entrance has been fitted with bathrooms during a media tour. 

After countless hours of planning and construction, Gering Public Schools is ready to showcase the newly renovated Gering High School Monday, Sept. 23.

The ribbon cutting ceremony kicks off homecoming week for the district.

Jennifer Sibal, community engagement director and Gering Public Schools Foundation director, said this year’s homecoming is special.

“We wanted this to be a district-wide celebration, so elementary, middle school and high school students are encouraged to dress up each day,” she said.

The theme for the week is “Welcome to Paradise,” so every day students and faculty can dress up according to the theme, such as pajamas, twins and blue and gold attire.

As the students engage in learning within their new environment, Gering High School bond committee members and alumni George and Barb Schlothauer shared their perspective on the project. George Schlothauer is a 1962 graduate.

“We have a very vested interest in the renovation,” he said. “We were a little selfish in doing this because not only did I graduate from Gering in ‘62, we have three sons who have gone through the Gering school system and we have seven grandkids who will eventually go through the school system.”

Bulldogs through and through, the Schlothauers wanted to see the district continue to be successful by incorporating new technology and bringing the high school into this century.

During the initial conversations about the renovation project, the committee members discussed leaving the auxiliary gym off the list due to the concern about the public buy-in. Schlothauer was interested in establishing a good auxiliary gym to allow the district to host sports tournaments as well as the economic boost.

With the project wrapping up, the Schlothauers toured the building earlier this week and were impressed with the look.

“We were really just blown away by the way they’ve incorporated the old with the new,” he said. “I think it’s a wonderful flow and because it’s such a wonderful flow, you get to experience not only the beautiful media center but the way we also have the Freshman Academy here, too.”

The old gym floor will be used as frames around the trophies as a highlight of the previous and future successes of the students.

Looking back on the process, Schlothauers is grateful to have the community’s support in passing the bond to make the high school an innovative place to learn. He shared how some school districts have to go through two or three bond issues before they get the bond passed, eliminating project upgrades through each revision.

Members of the bond committee range in age from their 20’s to 90’s and Barb shared how they all came together to make the future of Gering successful.

“It was good to work with those people,” she said. “You could see all the people come together.”

Living near the high school, the Schlothauers have been able to see the progression and the next chapter begin.

“It’s been fun to watch the construction going on,” Barb said. “It’s a great learning atmosphere and I think we have good staff on board to go into this next era of what high school education is all about.”

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Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at lauren.brant@starherald.com.

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