Barton Community College intends to rebuild the Camp Aldrich Dining Facility that was destroyed by fire on April 12. The dining hall, including the basement, which served as a storm shelter, was a total loss.
The college trustees voted Wednesday to work with the insurance company based on the desire to replace the facility and college-owned contents. Board discussion followed a report from Dean of Administration Mark Dean.
“We’re at a point where we need some direction from the board,” Dean said. If the board chose not to rebuild, the insurance company would “pay out” the value of the building minus depreciation. “This would be a minimal amount and would be based on not rebuilding the structure,” Dean said. “Due to the lack of a storm shelter at Camp Aldrich, overnight groups would be prohibited until such a time when a shelter would be available.”
The board’s vote followed the administration’s recommendation. Several board members commented on their desire to see the dining hall rebuilt. It is hoped that a new facility could be open by April of 2015.
“I know as trustees we were all disheartened by the fire,” board chairman Mike Johnson said. “The community also is very interested and very concerned about what will happen to the facility. ... From my point of view there’s no question that we rebuild.”
Trustees Mike Minton and Don Learned expressed agreement, and the motion to “move forward with a desire to rebuild” came from trustee John Moshier.
“I can’t imagine not having that facility available to the community,” Minton said.
Learned said he knew Camp Aldrich was important to the community, but was astonished at the amount of feedback he received from people.
Dean said the facility is insured for replacement cost, but there will be a lot of work to do as state and federal requirements are reviewed. “Any costs above what the insurance company settles on would follow college purchasing guidelines.”
Although trustees said they’d like to see something similar to the original building, Dean said that could be difficult. He acknowledged the rustic appearance was desirable, but said the original dining hall was built with 4 by 4 tongue and groove timber, and the new building material will have to be non-combustible. Dean also noted that the insurance company will continue to insure the college, but does not intent to renew the policy covering Camp Aldrich when it expires at the end of June.
In other business, the board renewed faculty contracts and new personnel. New hires are: Yvonne Strecker, Meals On Wheels Program Assistant (part-time); William Bennett, chemistry instructor; Ashley Arnold, Dean of Military Academic Services (Fort Riley); and Michael Rose, multimedia coordinator (Fort Riley). Previously reviewed changes to the paramedic program and a revitalization interlocal agreement with the City of Hoisington were also approved.
Trustees also spent 60 minutes in executive session for the discussion of personnel, including the annual evaluation for the college president, Dr. Carl Heilman. No action was taken, but chairman Johnson praised Heilman before the meeting adjourned.
“As a board we continue to be very pleased and excited about things going on here at Barton under Dr. Heilman’s leadership,” Johnson said.