"Painted, cleaned, repaired everything here as well," Riggenbach said. "So, when we talk about our building's gonna fall down, I certainly know more than most how much it's gonna fall down."
Riggenbach says the district has needed a new building for decades.
"The original part of the building was built in 1935," Riggenbach said.
Over the previous two years, the school district tried to get voters to pass a bond issue to generate funds for a new school. Both of those years failed.
"This is our third year at the bond issue and it's been tough," Riggenbach said.
But, in the third year, voters finally approved a $2.9 million bond issue.
"I believe a miracle happened in Elbert," Kellie Loflin, superintendent of the Elbert School District, said.
The passage of the $2.9 million bond issue allows the school district to now receive a $17.3 million grant from the state of Colorado's BEST program, Building Excellent Schools Today.
The BEST program uses revenue generated from land owned by the state to help smaller school districts with construction projects. Obtaining the grant was contingent upon voters approving a bond issue.
"With the BEST grant, it gave us an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here," Loflin said.
She says to generate nearly $20 million in revenue in construction is impossible for a district as small as Elbert. There are simply not enough homes.
"The most money we can come up with our tax base is a little over $3 million," Loflin said.
Riggenbach says a $2.9 million bond issue for a new kindergarten through 12th grade school is a bargain.
"There isn't a lot of money and I know it's a tax increase and it's gonna cost more," Riggenbach said. "But, it's going to cost the same when we say we need to repair a roof."
Riggenbach and Loflin says a roofing issues, flooding issues, electrical wiring issues, and technology issues were simply too much for the district to try to survive in the current facility long-term.
She believes the passage of the bond has saved the future of the town of Elbert.
"If our taxpayers weren't behind that that was essentially them saying we don't want a school in Elbert. As you know schools are the heartbeat and you take the heart out of it, the community is not going to live," Loflin said. "So, we changed that. We made history [Tuesday] and Elbert's going to be on the map for a long time to come."
A long time, Loflin says, after long-time employees like Riggenbach are long gone.
"I think it's a matter of pride," Riggenbach said. "I like that idea that we are going to be proud of our facility, not just proud of our kids."
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)