~by Mary Weaver
Thirty-five persons from the Rippey area community did their civic duty Tuesday, braving the below zero temperatures to attend four sessions regarding the proposed regional academy yesterday. The majority attended the informational session at the Rippey United Methodist Church at 10 am. This is a usual gathering spot on Tuesday for a coffee/quilting group. They were greeted with Midge Vanatta playing old familiar tunes on the piano, while partaking of homemade goodies and coffee provided by the church ladies.
United Methodist Rippey Church pastor Paul Burrow introduced Steve Karber. Karber played a video of a living room conversation taped in the home of Rick Morain. Morain served as moderator, hearing from Chris Deal, local Greene County farmer/engineer, Sid Jones, president of Home State Bank, and Dr Dan Kinney, president of Iowa Central Community College.
The individuals speaking on the video provided general information regarding how the proposed Iowa Central academy could/would aid the community in education for the young people, as well as adult re-training, and easing the labor shortage for local businesses.
Following the video, there was wide ranging discussion regarding cost (uncertain as information is still be gathered), but approximately the same as the previous $20 million bond. Location was also discussed, as several options are available such as a new building site at the intersection of Highways 4 and 30, or adjacent to the current Greene County High School. Architectural drawings of the proposal will be completed during February and additional town hall informational meetings will be held throughout the county. An expected early spring bond issue vote will be held.
Connie Neese, Rippey church leader and retired registered nurse, publicly acclaimed her appreciation for Iowa Central Community College. She said she was able to attain RN status while having five young children at home because of the closeness of the classes. She labeled herself as a strong advocate for the academy.
Three additional informational/discussion sessions were held at the Rippey Community Room. Individuals attending were given light refreshments provided by Hy-Vee in Jefferson, and Peoples Banks of Greene County. Once again the video was played, and individuals provided input regarding the academy and the Greene County school building. When questioned about the cost to the taxpayers, Karber indicated private funds were being sought for the gymnasium and performing arts centers. Private companies with a vested interest in hiring academy graduates have also expressed a willingness to provide financial assistance.
At each session individuals were encouraged to continue voicing their thoughts through volunteering to serve on upcoming planning committees.
Karber provided several of the videos for take home viewing for those who were interested in sharing with other groups and or family members.
The next informational session will be held in Scranton on Thursday, Jan. 4.