The expansion of Barton Community College’s Agriculture Mechanics that was discussed earlier this month received formal approval Tuesday at the BCC Board of Trustees meeting.
The board heard again from Kathy Kottas, dean of Workforce Training & Community Education, and Mary Foley, executive director of Workforce Training and Economic Development, about plans to build a facility using a 1:1 matching grant totaling $1,843,594 from the Kansas Board of Regents to construct an Agriculture, Farm Machinery and Transportation Technology Complex.
The facility will include three classrooms, three dedicated shop spaces, Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) vehicle and equipment storage, corrals, instructor offices, a loading dock, and a CDL testing area, officials said. The estimated cost for the project is $3,687,188.
Trustees were also reminded that Barton Foundation Director Lindsey Bogner is working to raise the matching funds by gathering pledges for State of Kansas Capital Improvement Tax Credits. Anyone who wants more information about that can contact Bogner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 620-786-1141.
With Tuesday’s action, Barton plans to offer Case New Holland “Top Tech” training starting in 2023.
“We have worked with CNH since 1995,” Kottas said. But until now, Barton has only provided continuing education to that company’s employees already working at a CNH dealership. Now, the college will be able to offer training in agriculture mechanics to anyone interested in such a career.
The program is intended for students seeking to work at an agriculture equipment dealership. Students will receive instruction on the basic knowledge and skills of repair of agricultural equipment.
“CNH will provide the curriculum and loan equipment to us,” Foley said. “They’re also going to help with promotion and provide scholarships for the students.” She said Barton’s partnership with CNH is “very strong.”
Like other businesses, CNH is seeing an aging workforce and needs to fill the pipeline with new employees, Foley said.
In other business, the board approved the following new personnel, all for positions at the Barton County campus: Madalyne Casey, admissions representative; Vanessa Watson, assistant care provider (part-time); Stephen Sell, general maintenance facility worker; Julie Peterson, developmental lab coordinator; and Christy Huslig, academic advisor. The board also approved a position charge and contract, naming Heather Panning as the assistant director of athletics and senior women’s administrator.
There was some discussion with Vice President of Administration Mark Dean, who said there are 64 open positions at Barton.
The board also held an executive session to discuss the performance of an employee.