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Third Time In History Pettisville Students Move Into New Building


The new elementary playground is on the east end of the school. The ground beneath the equipment is covered with wood chips, as a "fall safe" surface. The chips are intended to offer some cushioning if a child falls. While the playground wasn't ready on the first day of school, Wednesday, Sept. 7, rain precluded outdoor activities.– photo by Mary Huber The new elementary playground is on the east end of the school. The ground beneath the equipment is covered with wood chips, as a "fall safe" surface. The chips are intended to offer some cushioning if a child falls. While the playground wasn't ready on the first day of school, Wednesday, Sept. 7, rain precluded outdoor activities.– photo by Mary Huber When the new Pettisville school building opened on Wednesday, Sept. 7, it was the third time a new school opened in the unincorporated community.

Records show the first new school was built in 1869, only 13 years after Pettisville was established as a town in 1856.

It was a two-room grade school with grades 1-4 on the first floor and 5-8 on the second. School records list 119 students enrolled at Pettisville in 1897, the earliest year for which records are available.

Students who wanted to continue an education beyond eighth grade went to Wauseon or Archbold high schools. 1927 Consolidation Plan


A sunken multipurpose area is in the foreground of the auditorium. In the background are folding theatre-style seats. When retracted, they form a wall between the auditorium and the school cafeteria.– photo by David Pugh A sunken multipurpose area is in the foreground of the auditorium. In the background are folding theatre-style seats. When retracted, they form a wall between the auditorium and the school cafeteria.– photo by David Pugh In 1927, word came from the county board of education that there were plans to divide Pettisville students between Archbold and Wauseon.

The Pettisville school would be closed.

Pettisville residents voiced opposition to the plan.

New borders were proposed for a Pettisville School District in 1928, and after the county board of education approved the borders, plans were made for a new school building.

The school opened on Sept. 9, 1929, and it was in constant use until this past spring.

When it first opened, though, it was quite different from the building with which recent students were familiar, most of which was demolished this summer.


Josiah Burks, left, comes in from the rain, ready to start his first day of school. He is a kindergartener. Accompanying him on his big day are his mother, Sherell, and sister, Relic, 19 months.– photo by David Pugh Josiah Burks, left, comes in from the rain, ready to start his first day of school. He is a kindergartener. Accompanying him on his big day are his mother, Sherell, and sister, Relic, 19 months.– photo by David Pugh The building underwent several renovations and additions over the course of its 82 years.

The first was a large addition built in 1951 that included an enlargement of the gymnasium (the junior high gym of recent years), a new cafeteria and kitchen, a music room, and a shop.

In 1956 the elementary school wing was added. A portion of the addition has been retained by the district for storage, maintenance office space, and other nonclassroom uses.

One more project was undertaken in 1960, when Pettisville added an industrial arts room and science classrooms, and enlarged the cafeteria.

The final addition to the school was unique. In 1994, a new varsity gymnasium, library, and computer lab were added, but the addition was not paid for with tax dollars.

Rather, the Pettisville School Foundation raised the $1.8 million needed for the project through donations. OSFC Funding

In late July 2011, twothirds of the Pettisville school was demolished, having been replaced by the new K-12 building that was constructed under the Ohio School Facilities Commission program.

The state program provided 82% of the more than $20 million cost, with local tax funds covering the remainder.

Portions of the old building that were retained included the 1994 addition, and about half of the elementary wing built in 1956.

The new school will be connected with the older building through an atrium that will serve as a school lobby of sorts, and will feature a special entrance that will resemble the entrance to the 1929 building.

The Pettisville School Foundation once again raised funds to help cover the costs of the atrium.

Plans also call for the school bell that was saved from the 1869 school to be mounted on a special brick base, with the bricks inscribed with names or messages of donors who contributed to the cost of the atrium.

The latest new school will mark another new chapter in the history of Pettisville School District.

The history shows strong community support for a district that is near the bottom of the list in district size, but which has been providing an excellent education for Pettisville students for over 140 years.–D.J. Neuenschwander

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The interesting and inspiring thing about America is that she asks nothing for herself except what she has a right to ask for humanity itself.–Woodrow Wilson

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