Barton Community College will add wrestling to its list of sports in 2015-2016, a decision made official at Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting. Board members also learned that Barton has landed a five-year contract with the Kansas Department of Agriculture – Weights and Measurements Division to offer training for scales technicians.
As discussed at the Oct. 9 board study session, the addition of a wrestling program has the potential of increasing on-campus enrollment by 30-40 students. A number of Kansas community colleges already have wrestling programs and a couple of others are considering the addition of the sport.
Trustee Don Learned said he’s lost count of the number of phone calls he’s received about this topic.
“People say it’s a great idea,” Learned said. “I think the community is really behind this.”
Trustee Mike Minton added, “I think it’s a great idea.” He asked Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman for assurances that other sports programs won’t see their budgets reduced to make room for wrestling.
“We want quality teams,” he said. “We can’t take away from other programs.”
Heilman reminded trustees that startup costs were included in this year’s budget. After the initial expenses, the program's revenues are expected to exceed its costs around Year 2. “We did not reduced the operations of other athletic programs in putting this forward.”
Elaine Simmons, dean of Workforce Training & Community Education, shared the news about the Department of Agriculture contract.
“All state (scales) technicians need to be licensed by June 30,” she said, anticipating the college will need to train about 300 people. Training will be offered at the Barton County campus and in Manhattan.
Mary Foley executive director of Workforce Training & Economic Development, and Vic Martin, agriculture instructor and coordinator, also weighed in on the program, noting there are good-paying careers available in the field of weights and measures. “It’s a very large potential audience,” Martin said.
Service region and taxes
Earlier in the meeting, Dr. Penny Quinn, vice president of instruction and student services, gave a monitoring report on Barton’s service regions. In addition to the traditional seven-county service area, the college has expanded with online education and a physical presence at Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth and Grandview Plaza. Quinn said it’s a common misconception in the public that these outreach efforts are supported by Barton County property taxes.
Having these remote campuses actually reduces the local mill levy, Quinn said, because they bring in more revenue than they cost. In a recent year while the tax rate was 32.77 mills, Quinn said, it would have been 34.9 mills without that added revenue.
Heilman commented, “It really adds to the effectiveness of the college providing services. The revenue that exceeds the expenditures allows the college to benefit all students, particularly in the seven-county area.”