Three trustees were sworn in at the start of the Barton Community College Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday. Barton County Clerk Bev Schmeidler issued the oath of office to returning board members Mike Johnson and Gary Burke, along with new trustee Dale Maneth.
The board voted to keep its slate of officers unchanged in 2024, so Johnson will continue to serve as president.
The meeting ended after a 60-minute executive session for discussion of the search for the next president of the college.
The current president, Dr. Carl Heilman, has served as Barton’s fifth president for over 17 years, beginning his tenure in July of 2006.
Heilman will retire effective June 30.
Two finalists for the position, Dr. Seth Carter and Dr. Marcus Garstecki, were on campus last week for interviews and meetings with the public. Johnson said the board plans to hold a special meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 30, and announce the choice.
Grant for ambulance simulators
The board voted to accept a state grant that will fund two ambulance simulators, one at the Great Bend campus and one at the Grandview Plaza campus, to benefit the programs for EMT/AEMT/ Paramedic programs. Details were presented by Krystall Barnes, director of grants, and Nick Larmer, director of Barton EMT (Emergency Medical Technican) Education.
The $60,000 Jobs & Innovative Industry Skills Training Grant is through the Department of Commerce and requires a $60,000 match of funds.
“The simulators are great,” Barnes said. The fully enclosed ambulance simulators will fit in the classroom to give students a hands-on experience.
Larmer said the simulators are realistic, including the height into them and the cot. When students go on a real service call, they’ll be familiar with the back of an ambulance.
“It’s a lot safer for the students,” Larmer said of learning on a simulator.
He and Barnes will work on getting another grant that will add pneumatics that will create movement like an actual ambulance.
Barnes is a full-time grant writer for Barton and is currently working on six potential grants.
In other action Tuesday, the board approved two new employees for the Barton County campus. They are Jennifer Christiansen, Student Support Services project manager, and Carla Dietz, Adult Healthcare coordinator.
Vice President of Administration Mark Dean said the college currently has eight full-time and four part-time job positions open.