The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020

VWCS hires coach, learns about robotics

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

VWHS Robotics Team member Matt Saunier demonstrates the team's robot during Wednesday's meeting of the Van Wert City Board of Education. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

The Van Wert City Board of Education hired a new head football coach, received a big check … literally … from AEP related a lighting/HVAC program and also heard information from the high school Robotics Club and updates on the elementary construction project and Race to the Top grant program.

The board unanimously hired former Delphos St. John’s player Keith Recker (see story below) as its new head football coach after what Superintendent Ken Amstutz said was an “exhaustive search” that involved approximately 40 candidates for the position.

Also during the board’s February meeting on Wednesday, Ray Robinson of HEAT Total Facility Solutions updated the board on the energy savings project that included replacing lighting in both the high school-middle school complex and the S.F. Goedde Building, as well as tweaking the buildings’ HVAC systems to provide maximum efficiency.

Robinson also brought a large cardboard check to the meeting representing $41,682.88 in rebates given by AEP for the project.

Robinson noted that the project resulted in lowering energy usage in the buildings from 78,050 watts to 40,358 watts — a 48.3 percent reduction in energy use.

Coaches Bob Spath and Zane McElroy brought their robotics team to the board meeting and provided information to the board, as well as a demonstration of the robot. Spath also thanked VWHS alumni Randy Gardner and Tom Compton for their financial support of the program, which competed for the first time in the Central Ohio FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition. Robotics Team members are students enrolled in the Project Lead the Way pre-engineering program at VWHS.

Spath noted that Van Wert is the first Western Buckeye League school to have a robotics team and hoped that the team’s experiences might lead other WBL schools to start a similar program. If enough teams did so, Spath said, a Northwest Ohio competition could be organized.

Ray Robinson of HEAT Total Facility Solutions (right) presents a check representing energy rebates from AEP to (from the left) Treasurer Mike Ruen, Board President Ken Markward, Board members Mike Morrow, Linda Owens and Jessica Weiss, Superintendent Ken Amstutz and Board member Ben Cowan. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

The students spent three months designing, building, programming, refining, and testing their robot to compete with 30 other teams — most with much more experience — in Columbus.

“The students on the team love the problem solving required and they are learning valuable information in software, hardware, programming, teamwork and communication, especially between the crew and drivers,” Spath has said about the Robotics Team, now in its first year.

Team member Matt Saunier demonstrated the robot for the board, showing how it could pick up balls and perform other tasks.

During his report to the board, Amstutz provided an update on the elementary school project, noting that, while the work was a little behind schedule, 80 percent of the project was dried in, with the rest to be enclosed in the next couple of weeks.

The superintendent also noted that installation of flooring, including terrazzo flooring, should begin soon.

Also during the meeting, the board accepted the resignation of elementary secretary Joan Swank after 23 years in that position, approved the amended official certificate of estimated resources for Fiscal Year 2012 as presented, approved indoor track as an official VWHS sport, authorized Amstutz and Treasurer Mike Ruen to advertise for bids for one 84-passenger school bus and appointed Ruen to the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation Board to replace VWHS Principal Bill Clifton.

POSTED: 02/16/12 at 7:25 am. FILED UNDER: News