*This story first appeared in The Budget’s July 18, 2018, Local Edition.
By Beverly Keller
After carefully reviewing project plans, the Garaway Released Time Education Committee has decided to rebuild the Son Shine Cabins instead of replacing them.
“It is really about the building codes and what would need to be accomplished if we replaced them,” explained Pastor Jacob Mahaffey, who serves as the president of the Garaway Released Time Education Committee. “There are lots of guidelines, like running water, that would be nearly impossible to provide if we put a new structure into place at these sites.”
The group looked at options and found that they can do more work hand-in-hand with the community working with the structures already in place. The group plans to start with big fixes first, including leveling the cabin located in Ragersville. “When you walk in there, you can get a little sea-sick,” Mahaffey shared. “We want to get that fixed before the start of the school year.”
Another fix that must be completed before the start of the school year involves pest control. “We had an issue with bird mites who built a nest in the air conditioner vent at Baltic,” Mahaffey
shared. “We hired a local pest control firm to come out and take care of the issue. Unfortunately, the bugs came back.” To remedy this situation, the group will be doing inspections and cleanings at each cabin to be sure that the only little ones in the cabins are of the human variety.
The program, funded strictly by donations and grants from community organizations, has been going strong since 1962 in the Garaway district. The program started at the elementary level with a trailer driven to each building on a weekly basis. Now, permanent structures are in place for students in K-6, and the Sugarcreek Church of the Brethren opens its doors to students in grades 7-12 during the school year.
Anyone interested in being a part of the restoration process to bring each cabin needed care is asked to volunteer. Areas of concern include all-weather flooring to eliminate issues with mud and pooling melted snow in the winter months as well as insulation and table space for student use.
To get involved with the project, contact Mahaffey at 330-401- 8142. Donations can also be mailed directly to Released Time Education, PO Box 203, Sugarcreek, OH 44681.