From Bill Rice
The fire in April at the old Sistersville High School stirred up a lot of feelings: relief that those living in the building were all safe; gratitude for our first responders; and thankfulness that an important part of our town’s history remains standing.
It is the significance of the school that leads me to write this. Although the high school is privately owned, the city still owns the gym and middle school, which together are now known as the James Wilson Family Center.
Unfortunely, as hard as Parks and Recereation and others have worked to improve the facility, it has become increasingly challenging to handle. Rentals and fundraisers can only do so much, especially when issues with the facility often interfere with our best efforts to make use of it.
But we’re not giving up. Call it the old high school gym, call it the James Willison Family Center, or call it the Tigers Den.
Whatever you call it, don’t call it quits!
Given the costs and manpower it will take to renovate the center in its entirety, it may seem like an unrealistic gesture. Well…isn’t that what makes Sistersville and the Tiger Spirit so great? We’re warriors, and we’ll fight until the impossible happens. We’ve seen a fantastic turnaround at the city park, the ferryboat is on the right course, and now the school is owed the same courtesy.
When it comes to making the most of our town, I’ll consider any and every option. If alumni classes want to pitch in or band together to sponsor the repair of a room or rooms, we can honor the classes involved by hanging plaques in those rooms listing all of the former students’ names. If a company would like to renovate the building (or a section of the building) and use it as office space, we can consider the repairs a donation and perhaps arrange a rental agreement for number of years. We will be opening an account for repairs, so any donations sent to the city (200 Diamond St., Sistersville, WV 26175) and noted as Family Center Repairs will be greatly appreciated and earmarked for the purpose.
As mayor and a graduate of Sisterville High School, I would like to see the middle school area and gym not only continue standing. I would like to see them stand for something again.