The Barton Community College board of trustees awarded auto bids to area dealerships on Thursday, continuing a tradition of choosing local over the lower state contract bid.
The board followed the administration’s recommendation to purchase four Impalas from Manweiler Chevrolet, Hoisington, at a total cost of $73,196, and one transit van from Marmie Ford, Great Bend, for $26,900.
Dean of Administration Mark Dean said the state contract price, which is available to all state entities, is usually provided because he uses those vehicles as a guide when writing specifications. The college could have saved $778 (almost 3 percent) by buying the van from Shawnee Mission Ford, and $2,640 (about 3.5 percent) by buying four Impalas from Ed Bozarth Chevrolet.
“We’ve purchased off (the state contract) a couple of times, if the vehicles weren’t available elsewhere,” Dean said. In general, however, the college prefers to keep its business local.
In other business Thursday, the board learned that finding a replacement for Darnell Holopirek, Barton’s executive director of institutional advancement, may take several months. In the meantime, trustees voted to hire Rob Dove as the interim director of that department for up to six months.
Holopirek, who is retiring at the end of the year, attended her final board meeting Thursday and said Dove is a good choice for interim director of the department that is responsible for handling gifts to the college. Dove has served two terms as chairman of the Barton Community College Foundation Board.
The only other person hired this month was Adam Dieker, as an academic adviser at Fort Riley.
The board also approved several program changes described at this month’s study session, which was also held Thursday because of the busy December schedule.
Mary Foley, executive director of Workforce Training & Economic Development, and others told trustees about several programs.
Barton Community College has become the state’s official site for training technicians who deal with certain weights and scales.
Barton recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Weights and Measures. From Oct. 3, 2014, through Aug. 30, 2019, KDA will pay Barton to conduct annual training and testing required for the licensing of technical representatives who wish to perform servicing, inspecting and testing of retail, small and large scales as well as mass flow meters.
Dean Elaine Simmons said the college expects BCC will contract 300 licenses in the first year of the agreement.
Foley also described a plumbing class that will be taught to inmates at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility and a carpentry class for inmates at the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility. These will be offered because Barton has a contract with the Kansas Department of Corrections. Inmates can earn certificates that could lead to careers once they are released.
“These certificates are Level I,” Foley said, but after release an inmate is free to continue the education up to a Level IV credential.
College employees noted that once a course is created for inmates, the work that went into developing the class can be used to offer classes on the BCC campus or at area high schools. Dean Simmons said that is happening as the college works on a welding program.
There were also revisions to the Early Childhood program, merging two certificates into one by combining the current Preschool Education Certificate and the Infant Toddler Education and Care Certificate. The college is also interested in making changes to the degree program. “It makes our students more employable,” Foley said.
Emergency Operations Plan
Another study session topic Thursday was the Emergency Operations Plan for the campus. Administrators noted it was ironic that a situation had occurred earlier this week in which the plan was followed. A review of the plan was already on the agenda when a student who was reportedly upset about a final grade got into an altercation with an instructor and other staff. Campus security got involved and the Barton County Sheriff’s Office ended up taking the student into protective custody.
“It was a learning experience,” Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman commented. While there were no weapons involved and no one had to go to the hospital, someone posted a comment on social media and soon news and rumors were spreading.
In fact, the incident did not rise to the level of requiring a lockdown, or a campus wide alert, Dean said. “It was isolated to a small area and contained very quickly.”
Dean Ange Sullivan added that there was no need to send other students an alert because, “there was nothing to alert students to do.” Currently, students who sign up for alerts receive texts or emails when their action is needed. The most common alert is when the campus is closed due to snow, for example, and the action required is to stay home.
As for the Emergency Operations Plan, Dean said he has concerns with the plans lockdown policy. It is the kind of policy recommended for grades K-12, but the thinking concerning college campus emergencies is different, he said. “Instead of lockdown, it’s ‘Run, Hide and Fight.’” The college’s emergency response team has decided to use that policy in case of a emergency such as a shooter on campus, but Dean did note that everyone running away from danger (if practical) can create issues for law enforcement.