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Ruppenthal Middle School Celebrates 75 Years

RMS 75 1Ruppenthal Middle School in Russell turns 75 years old this month and to celebrate the milestone, a special assembly was held Wednesday in the RMS Auditorium.

Originally built at a cost of $253,000 and with assistance from the Work Projects Administration (WPA) in 1938, the three-story limestone structure was constructed for high school students and continues to support and house education in the Russell community.

The building was dedicated 75 years ago on January 25, 1938 and the address was given by the chancellor of the University of Kansas, Dr. E.H. Lindley.

With the RMS student body in the background (pictured below), Russell Mayor Curt Mader signed a proclamation Tuesday designating January 25 as Ruppenthal Middle School Day in honor of the anniversary. RMS Principal Gaylon Walter joined Mader for the signing.RMS 75th Proclamation

In 1883, a limestone building was erected at the present site of RMS. In 1887 two buildings were built in Russell. Southside was used as a high school and sat on the present site of Bickerdyke Elementary School and Northside was a grade school building built where Simpson Elementary School now stands.

In October 1936, bonds were appropriated for a new high school amounting to $138,000. The Federal Government furnished 45 percent of the total cost of the new building, which amounted to $253,000. A new school building was needed because of the overcrowded conditions existing.

The building was built with cooperation from the Federal Public Works Administration where workers were paid 60 cents an hour. Between 400 and 500 men built the building in 14 months.

In 1938, Clifford Dean was superintendent of schools. Thomas Iden was principal and later retired in 1968 after 37 years in the school system.

Below are a few pictures taken at the celebration assembly on Wednesday. Presenters included Russell Mayor Curt Mader, RMS Principal Gaylon Walter, USD 407 Superintendent Dave Couch, Simpson and Bickerdyke Elementary Schools Principal Kent Michel, and former RMS Principal Duane Adams. The RMS choir also performed.

RMS 75th Assembly 1  RMS 75th Assembly 2  RMS 75th Assembly 3  RMS 75th Assembly 4  RMS 75th Assembly 5  RMS 75th Assembly 6

(Historic photos courtesy of Gaylon Walter and Russell Historical Society.)

RMS 75 2  RMS 75 3  RMS 75 4  RMS 75 5  RMS 75 6  RMS 75 7  RMS 75 8  RMS 75 9  RMS 75 10

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