WINTERSVILLE - The former Bantam Ridge Elementary School will echo with the sound of footsteps again - those of young children, teens and adults - after the relocation of four agencies to its 587 Bantam Ridge Road facilities.
Located in one of the classrooms is the Wintersville Head Start program, with Robert Hines, Jefferson County Community Action Council administrative teacher, seated at the desk. Christina Wilson is the teacher's aide.
"We were the first to move here from the St. Anthony School and are awaiting licensing right now. We have room for 20 children from ages 3 to 5," he said.
NEW HOME — The former Bantam Elementary Ridge School, which was a part of the Indian Creek Local School District since it was built in 1955, is now home to four agencies. Representing those agencies are, from left, kneeling, Janine Yeske, Ohio State University/Jefferson County Extension educator and 4-H youth development; and Sarah Cross, OSU agriculture and natural resources educator. Standing, Janene Smith, Jefferson County Farm Bureau office administrator; Robert Hines, Jefferson County Community Action Council Head Start administrative teacher; and Irene Moore, Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District program administrator. - Esther McCoy
"At present, the 18 children we have on the roster can come out here, but they need to be accompanied by an adult. They can get the routine of the classroom and become familiar with the setting here," Hines said.
"We have other centers in the county as well. Juanita Thorn is the Head Start director and Barbara West is the director of the Community Action Council," Hines explained.
The sound of teen footsteps will come from the Ohio State University/Jefferson County Extension agency, with 4-H members attending Junior Leader meetings and those under 4-H age, the Cloverbuds, participating in the summer camps.
"This is a great set-up for the Cloverbuds as there is a gymnasium and playground that we can utilize. We can have bigger meetings and events for the 4-H members as well," said Janine Yeske, Ohio State University/Jefferson County Extension educator and 4-H development.
"We have already had 4-H members, advisers and ag clients stop in. We left a sign, with directions, on the door at the old office along Main Street in Wintersville, and they have no trouble getting to this new location," she said.
"When moving, we found a list of 4-H clubs dating to its beginning in the county in 1927. James Wood, a past 4-H member, is compiling the history for his college class," Yeske said.
The Jefferson County Farm Bureau has been in the new location long enough to get comfortable with its environment. Members of the bureau board helped to make the move from its 734 Main St. location in Wintersville.
"It is nice to have all three agencies together for collaboration efforts. We will be able to work more together now," said Janene Smith, office administrator. "We can help each other," she said in referring to the Extension, Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District and the farm bureau.
"We participate at the Jefferson County Fair just like the 4-H and from the board standpoint, it gives us more availability to work together. We hope to hold some of our meetings here and will be holding our annual Christmas luncheon in the gymnasium on Monday. We have downsized our office and had to get rid of some things that were no longer needed and it should work fine," Smith said.
The Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District is in the process of making the transition and will officially be open after the Dec. 14 open house planned for the three agencies.
"This is a great opportunity as the building was available for all of us. It will be a learning curve for people to put us on their radar in driving to this new location, three miles from our past Stambaugh complex location," said Irene Moore, JSWCD program administrator.
"There is plenty of space for meetings and plenty of storage space here. In our 65 years, we have been situated in three other locations. The first was at the old post office building on North Fourth Street. Then on Main Street by Oliver Pool, next the Stambaugh complex in 1996 and now here. This has been the second move for me in my 25 years with soil and water conservation," she said.
There are signs on the office doors designating where all the occupants are located, and the Extension office, Farm Bureau and JSWCD are holding an open house from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 14 for county residents to view their new location
"We hope that you will stop in and enjoy some great food, sign up for door prizes and meet the staff, volunteers and board members of the three agencies. We are looking forward to seeing you," Smith said.
For those unfamiliar with the school, Bantam Ridge Road is across from the Steubenville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Cadiz Road, west of Wintersville. Turn left at Smith Oil and Gas and the school building is on the right, just past the self-storage units.