Rotary Club of Iola donated over $7,000 to fund the restoration of the newly restored cast-iron bell at Iola Elementary School, which dates back to 1868. The bell was moved in March from its previous location at Jefferson Elementary School, where it had sat since 1941, and was sent to St. Louis, Mo., where the McShane Bell Company worked its magic.
Coonrod & Associates, construction manager for the USD 257 school bond projects, covered all costs in building the platform on which the bell rests. A plaque explaining the bell’s unique history is still to come.
The restoration process allows the bell to ring again, as USD 257 Superintendent Stacey Fager demonstrated. On Friday, each kindergarten student rang the bell, and in the beginning of a new tradition, will do so again when they leave fifth grade for Iola Middle School. More information will be in Tuesday’s paper.