The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, May. 16, 2022

Vantage discusses prairie grass planting

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Vantage Board of Education approved a number of “housekeeping” items in preparation for the coming school year, and also dealt with items related to the construction/renovation project currently underway at the school during its July meeting held Thursday.

The most time was spent on a presentation and discussion of whether the school should plant a variety of prairie and Indian grasses around the school.

Architect Shira Elder makes a presentation on the planting of native grasses on the grounds of Vantage Career Center during Vantage's July meeting on Thursday. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Architect Shira Elder from Garmann Miller, Vantage’s architects on the project, and Jay Smith of Smith Nursery were on hand to make a presentation on the proposal. Primary benefits to doing so is the savings in time and funds to maintain the grasses after the first three years. Smith said weeds also don’t grow in a well-established lawn of prairie and Indian grasses.

Superintendent Staci Kaufman and Elder also stressed the educational value of planting the native grasses at Vantage.

Some board members had concerns about the appearance of the Vantage grounds if planted all in native grasses, with several preferring a more blended approach: planting a traditional grass lawn at the front of the Vantage building for a more “professional” look and then planting prairie and Indian grasses on the north side of the building. More discussion will take place on the proposal.

During her report, Kaufman updated the board on the facilities project, noting that the pre-install meeting for the new Early Childhood Education outdoor playground is at 10 a.m. July 17. Additional storage has to be rented, the superintendent said, for the remaining loose furnishings in the building, as the replacement furniture for Phases 1-3 will arrive in mid-July — before those areas are completed. Kaufman said local business owner Bruce Kennedy has offered 5,000 square feet of space to Vantage for storage of the loose furnishings.

Vantage will also need to purchase proper equipment to clean the quarry tile in the kitchens, after it was found that a solution to cleanliness and appearance issues would be a change in the way the tile was cleaned, instead of applying a sealer.

Epoxy floor recoating in three Trade and Industry shops will take place next summer, due to time constraints this summer.

Kaufman also noted that the correct date for the Vantage public auction is October 20, while Ford’s Drive One 4 UR School event is September 22 at Vantage.

Adult Education Director Pete Prichard reported that the Adult Education catalog for the 2012-2013 school year is now completed and also talked about a recent visit to Fort Worth Towers’ (FWT) Texas facility and explained how Vantage will be training and testing for employment at the new FWT facility in Hicksville.

Also Thursday, the Vantage board:

  • Employed Michelle Knippen as intervention specialist.
  • Employed the following Adult Education instructors on an as-needed, as-scheduled basis: Michelle Pohlman, Sonya Yenser-Hammon, Jean Steele, Ted Daniels, Cary Hengstler, Shirley Jarvis, Katie Ashbaugh and Connie Drake, all Health Careers; Brent Wright and Pat Vogel, AWS welding testing; Cynthia Krizan, transitions coordinator/gainful employment specialist; Jim Grant, Sara Ricker, Josephine Wilson, Theresa Mengerink, Patricia Beams and Thomas Hunter, all ABLE instructors; Dee Dee Dirksen, transitions enrollment coordinator; Kristie Jones, Adult Education instructional leader; Robert Miller, Kip Wright and Mark Figert, Police Academy; Bruce Showalter, Police Academy coordinator; Alex Rompilla, Trade & Industrial coordinator; Michael DeMoss and Robert Hogan, Truck Academy; Ron Schumm, Small Business and Green Farming coordinator; Steven Treece, Transportation Programs coordinator; Karen McGilton, Connect Ohio instructor; and Jane Collis, substitute instructor.
  • Established a premium payment for Adult Education instructional leaders and coordinators at an additional 50 cents an hour above the highest pay rate for instructors, effective July 1.
  • Approved the following job descriptions: Police Academy coordinator, AE transitions coordinator/gainful employment specialist, AE transitions coordinator/counselor, STNA coordinator and Small Business and Green Farming coordinator.
  • Approved the Avantage Salon & Spa price list for the 2012-2013 school year.
  • Approved the 2011-2012 Bullying & Harassment Report.
  • Accepted a grant of $630 from the Patricia M. Lichtensteiger Memorial Fund, administered by The Van Wert County Foundation, for Vantage’s Literacy Program.
  • Accepted a grant of $33,500 from the Rothacker-Lampe Bequest, also administered by the VWCF, to be used to purchase electrical/electronics items.
  • Authorized the attendance discipline officer to sign suspension forms, if needed.
  • Amended the contracts of Prichard and Vantage Director Bob Vennekotter to allow each to purchase no more than five unused vacation days annually.

The next meeting of the Vantage Board of Education will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 2, in the Community Room.

POSTED: 06/29/12 at 5:57 am. FILED UNDER: News