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USD 378 Riley County school officials welcomed patrons to the newly renovated grade school and high school during Saturday’s Riley Fall Festival.

Doors to the newly renovated grade school and high school opened during the event to showcase the recently completed work. High school principal Harold Oliver says being part of the town celebration was a great opportunity for the district.

“For the people who supported this initiative to be able to see the end result of their willingness to help pay for something like this, it’s not easy to do, it’s not cheap to do. I think it’s just a thank you back to our patrons and our community for supporting our school system,” he said.

Renovations included everything from a new roof and updates to the HVAC system to technology upgrades in the classrooms. Oliver says the renovations also provided for better safety and security in the buildings. Improved lighting, temperature controls, and even new technology also contribute to an enhanced learning environment.

“We do have some new technology going in with our screens and making it more accessible for our teachers to utilize some of the things they want to do in class. We don’t have to be hard wired from their computer into a smart board anymore. They can just remotely connect to the screens. Our students can do the same thing,” he said.

School board president Samantha Brown says it was time for renovations. She says they didn’t get to everything, but every teacher’s room was touched, as well as a newly updated commons area at the high school, which she is more than excited about.

“It is awesome. It used to be so dark and dank like it was very dated. Now it’s bright, it has our colors. the flooring is new and the tile falcon on the floor is still there. We worked really hard to make sure that stayed because it’s been there a long time,” she said.

Oliver added that without the contributions of the taxpaying public, none of this would have been possible.

“When you’re able to see those things firsthand, it increases the collaboration we have and increases community input and hopefully increased their pride of what we have going on in our school system,” he said.

Saturday’s Fall Festival celebrated Riley’s sesquicentennial celebration, which actually was in 2020. However because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was cancelled last year.

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