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GBHS students plan building, garden
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Great Bend High School

Great Bend High School Career Technical Education (CTE) students will build a shed and tend a garden on the property at 1812 Morphy Street, located west of the GBHS parking lot across from the school. The property was purchased by Great Bend USD 428 in December of 2015. 

GBHS agriculture instructor Kevin Hoff, and Travis Straub, who teaches the Construction Pathway, developed plans with the help of Sutherland’s to build a shed on the property. Assistant Principal Randy Wetzel, director of the CTE program, said Straub will use his upper-level construction students to build the shed to provide real-world experiences in construction.

“Daniel Schneider, a math instructor and owner of Rock Solid Construction and Concrete, will pour the footings and slab floor for the shed,” Wetzel said. He will use students from Hoff’s ag classes and Straub’s construction classes to dig the footings, pour the concrete and finish the concrete for the shed, “again providing real-world applications in construction.”

The shed will be used to store seed, equipment and fertilizer for the garden that will be planted in the spring.

“With guidance and education from KSU Ag Research, GBHS Ag classes will be completing the planting and care for the garden throughout the spring with Special Services students and staff continuing the care of the garden during the summer months,” Wetzel said. “Future plans include building a greenhouse next to the shed for Ag and Biology students to continue their learning on plants during the winter.” 

Principal Tim Friess said City Building Inspector Lee Schneider has already approved the building permit. USD 428 maintenance staff laid water lines for the garden last spring.

Now the construction classes are just waiting for the weather to cooperate, Wetzel said.

Grants and gifts

Plans for the project were mentioned Monday at the Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education meeting.

In other business, the board accepted a financial gift and a grant:

• Zoetis Industry contributed $1,213.30 to the GBHS Future Farmers of America club. Local veterinary, animal health re-seller and distributor customers selected the GBHS chapter to receive the funds in the following amounts: Countryside Vet Associates, $185.30; Hoisington Veterinary Hospital, $35; and Animal Medical Center, $993.

• Dana Wilson, a school nurse at Helping Hands Preschool, recently applied for a Walmart Community Giving Grant that would provide funds to go toward OAE Otoacoustic Emissions hearing screening equipment, a tool for screening preschool children. Walmart has issued $1,000 to be used toward the machine.

Special education funds

The board also approved notification of the Title VI B and Early Childhood flow-through budget. Special Services Director Christie Gerdes explained that the public must be notified of this budget for federal funds, which covers salaries for licensed special education staff. The 2018-2019 application amounts to $973,628 for Title VI B pass-through funds — $1,629 less than the prior year — and $40,701 for ECH — $4 less than the prior year. The budget application will be available for public review at the Barton County Cooperative of Special Education for the next 30 days after the Oct. 8 approval.

CKLS membership

The board approved membership in the Central Kansas Library System, provided at no cost to the school district.

“The CKLS membership offers us many benefits,” Superintendent Khris Thexton said. Benefits include competitive grants, continuing education and on-site consulting for library staff. The district can also purchase books through the system at a savings of about 40 percent.


The district will receive an enrollment audit later in the year but Thexton said the official enrollment numbers were better than first expected. “We were only down eight students overall,” he said. Enrollment on Sept. 20 was 2,856 students.

Awareness and appreciation

• Oct. 24 is bus driver appreciation day.

• October is National High School Activities Month

• Oct. 8-14 is Anti-Bullying Awareness Week. On Tuesday, students were encouraged to wear blue to “stand up against bullying.”