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Ellinwood USD 355 looks at new HVAC
Strategic plan still in the works
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School teacher Melissa Jacobs was this month’s recipient of the Eagle Excellence Award at the December Ellinwood USD 355 School Board meeting on Monday.

ELLINWOOD — At the December USD 355 School Board Meeting, the board members were presented with an opportunity to ask engineer Chris Sele questions about a planned HVAC renovation.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning renovation project is moving forward with getting bids over the next month. This project has been in the works for two years. According to Superintendant Ben Jacobs, this project will replace the entire HVAC system in the grade school. The current equipment is over 20 years old.

“This project is very important for the grade school. Equipment is breaking down and really needs to be replaced,” Jacobs said. “We hope to be able to have bids in by the January meeting to show the board members.”

Some of the questions asked of Sele during a phone conference Monday night were about pricing, whether they should use gas or electric equipment, and whether the school’s utility bills will go up or down. Sele said he did not have all the numbers together but they will be available in a few days. 

In September, engineers Sele and Sean Miller presented to the board their work to this point on the HVAC renovation project. Their findings have provided a framework for the initiative and created some viable solutions, Jacobs said.

Superintendent’s Report

During his superintendent’s report, Jacobs said work continues on a greenhouse. There have been a few delays with the interior mechanical systems, according to information from Vo-Ag instructor Kent Blakeslee.

“I believe the contractor will only need to spend one additional day on-site to complete the project,” Jacobs said. “Kent believes that it will take through the month of January to get everything established before the building becomes occupied as an educational environment for students.” 

Strategic Plan

The USD 355 Long Range Planning Committee was appointed by the board earlier this year and consists of school board members, community leaders, administration, staff and parents. The committee met Nov. 6 and 13 at the Ellinwood School/Community library with around 30 participants. The USD 355 Board of Education provided a meal for the participants during each session. Gary L. Sechrist, leadership services field specialist with the Kansas Association of School Boards, was the facilitator.

Gifts to the district

The following gifts were announced at Monday’s meeting:

• $1,000 from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas for a Healthy Habits for Life Grant (Coach Andrew Cherry)

• $377.43 from the Library Foundation for a Veterans Day Speaker

• $600 from the Library Foundation for an Apply KS application

• $121.20 from the Library Foundation for a Macy Fund reimbursement


The board approved the following personnel changes:

• Accepted resignations from Mildred Burroughs, part-time library aide; Kyla Pearce, instrumental music teacher; and Connie Mitchum, middle school and high school language arts teacher.

• Approved appointments for Kirkland Babin, fourth-grade teacher; Marc Newton, instrumental music teacher; Julie Ann Jacobs, middle school and high school language arts teacher; Melody Johnston, part-time library aide; and Harmony Winget, activity secretary.

All-league selections

The following EHS football student-athletes were recognized with All-League honors. Athletes are nominated by their head coaches and voted upon by each head coach in the league.

Kody Koetter – 1st Team Linebacker, 2nd Team Running Back; Bryce Baker – 1st Team Center; David Hammeke – 2nd Team Wide Receiver, Honorable Mention Defensive Back.

The school will recognize its 2018 2A State Champion Cross Country team at halftime of the varsity boys basketball versus Ellis on Friday, Dec. 14. They will unveil their state banner and hope to be able to pass out their state championship rings. Coach Andrew Cherry was recently named the KSHSAA 2A Cross Country Coach of the Year.

Here is a quick look at what members did at the December Ellinwood School Board meeting:

• Discussed Kansas personal income and K-12 education expenditures. They looked at information on cost of education and compared that to personal income.

• Looked at information about recruitment and retention within Ellinwood’s schools.

• Discussed a new HVAC system for the grade school in a teleconference with the engineer.

• Looked at and approved recommended board policy updates.