The New Palestine school system ran on a “three-years’ course” until 1908, when a fourth year was added. This allowed the school system to be certified by the State of Indiana.
The care of the education system was shared by the Town of New Palestine and the Sugar Creek Township for many years.
Around 1915, a new heating plant was installed in the school building and an addition was built to house the growing number of pupils.
During this time, the taxation was becoming a burden to the town. In 1916, the school board was abolished and the township took full charge of the system.
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Certain demands, or “classifications,” of the New Palestine School were placed on the system in 1917.
This standard of education structure remained as part of the education system for many years.
In 1921, Sugar Creek Trustee Scott Brandenburg, with much urging and litigation, pushed to build a new building to house the school. This was completed at a cost of $65,000.
In the 1920s, New Palestine School system was trying to meet new demands after districts were changed. The school failed to meet various requirements, and additional construction was again needed.
Sugar Creek Township Trustee Fred Ruschhaupt purchased three and a half acres for a playground, and in the summer of 1925, construction began on the addition of three classrooms, a new assembly hall to seat 190 students, a gymnasium with the capacity of 800 people (and a good playing floor) and an office room.
The construction also added a vapor steam heating system.
The construction was completed in 1926. This construction was added to the 1921 building at a cost of $47,500.
The township trustees were a moving force in the education of students in the New Palestine school district for many years. They were credited with the quality standard of the curriculum plus meeting the standard of building structures and school staffing.
The Sugar Creek Township Trustee’s office was created in 1859. This is a list of some who served in this capacity in the early years: Robert P. Brown, 1859; Ernest H. Faut, 1865; Edward P. Scott, 1872; David Ulrey, 1876; William C. Barnard, 1878-1880; Sylvester Waggoner, 1882-1884; John E. Dye, 1886; Albert Helms, 1888; Ezra Eaten, 1890; John Manche, 1892; Henry Fralich, 1894; Van B. Cones, 1900; Velasco Snodgrass, 1904; John Burkhart, 1908; Scott Brandenburg, 1914; Fred Ruschhaupt, 1923; William C. Knoop, 1927-1931.
Townships have always been an important part of Indiana’s history and growth. Today, Sugar Creek Township includes 36 square miles of land. The western boundary is Hancock County Road 800 West (Carroll Road in Indianapolis); the southern boundary is County Road 600 South (Thompson Road); the eastern boundary is County Road 200 West; and the northern boundary runs about a quarter mile north of U.S. 40.
In the 2010 Census, the population was 14,920.
Today the township provides many services, including fire protection, emergency medical service, and advanced life support. It also is in charge of the Township Assistance Program, takes care of abandoned cemeteries and is in charge of township parks.
The township trustee is an elected position that has a term of four years. Our current trustee is Bob Boyer. Boyer is in his second term.
The duties of the township governing body have changed over the years, but to know they were a driving force that set the New Palestine education system on a direct course of excellence has been a joy to understand.
That is just another reason I look so forward to looking back. This has been a real learning experience. Thanks for being educated with me.
New Palestine Main Street and Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. It is planning to be a part of the annual Christmas Walk on Dec. 3. New Palestine Main Street and Museum are working on decorations for the holidays, along with the Town of New Palestine.
I am thankful for my family and friends and that I am able to share stories about this wonderful community with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.