MOUNT VERNON — Some major changes are on the horizon for the Knox County Career Center. Following an executive session to discuss the matter, the school board on Thursday voted to purchase the Mount Vernon Baptist Temple property off Yauger Road with the purchase contract contingent upon appraisal and other legal requirements. Board members Margie Bennett and Jody Goetzman voted against the measure.
On Friday, KCCC superintendent Bernie Pachmeyer told the News the site and building will be transformed into a medical learning facility for adult education programs. Pachmeyer said the plans are for all current medical programs, including all adult nursing and EMT classes, to move from the Martinsburg Road structure to Yauger Road. She said a medical spa is being considered as well; that would also involve massage therapy and cosmetology programs.
“We have a responsibility to our secondary school students,” Pachmeyer said, “but we also have a responsibility to educate lifelong learners. ... We are growing, and there’s just no place to go.”
Pachmeyer said estimates to construct a new building adjacent to the current career center were around $5.7 million. The cost of the Yauger property, one the other hand, is around $1.5 million. The money for the purchase of the property and retrofit of the building will come from funds remaining from the recently completed Ohio School Facilities Commission addition and renovations to the present career center building. That project came in under budget, and the funds must be used for capital projects and may not be used for operating expenses.
Students in the high school carpentry and building trades programs will also have expanded opportunities beginning next year. Principal Mike Warbel said the two programs will be combined into a comprehensive residential construction and remodeling and commercial building trades program. Juniors, he said will “specialize” in one area, and seniors will have the option of completing learning units, or pods, in both the residential and commercial fields. “Both programs have similarities,” Warbel said, “and this is a way for our students to have the advantage of the expertise of two exceptional teachers.”
Regarding finances, Treasurer Tracy Elliott said Friday the bottom line is OK for now. “Our outlook is pretty healthy for the next five years,” she said. “The scary variable is state funding for schools. We expect a cut, but don’t know how deep that cut will be.”
Besides approving Elliott’s five-year financial forecast and routine fiscal actions, the board accepted the following donations: $502.49 to the Mildred Bennett Fund from The Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County; $25 from Anita Van Winkle and $20 from Carole Miller to the preschool program in memory of Jeff Conkle; miscellaneous cosmetology equipment and supplies from Jill Kurpyl of Jillian’s Salon; and a 1978 Mercury Marquis Watercraft to the auto technology program from Jane Ann Riehl. It also established the rate for renting part of the adult education building to the Knox County Educational Service Center.
Regarding personnel, the board approved an unpaid maternity leave of absence for Amber Lavin for the 2010-11 school year, hired Ann Johnson as an early education instructor, accepted Mary Cline as a volunteer for summer maintenance, and named Tracy Schermer as medical director of the public safety program, retroactive to May 12.
In other action, the board approved a list of field trips and added introduction to computers to the adult education class list.