The Kirkman Activity Center at Barton Community College has become an unofficial drop-in gym for the public, but all that will change after a $300,000 renovation is done.
The subject came up Friday at the monthly board of trustees study session. Dean of Administration Mark Dean showed trustees samples of the types of flooring to be installed. These include artificial turf, synthetic flooring for multi-purpose activity and a track area, and a maple floor for basketball. Synthetic maple is also an option, although staff seemed to be leaning toward real wood.
After the work is done this summer, fees to use the building will increase and some activities – including soccer – will no longer be allowed. Drop-ins will have to start paying, and the college will hire someone to monitor the area.
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said the changes are necessary based on cost and liability issues.
Athletic Director Trevor Rolfs was also on hand to answer questions. Previously, Rolfs showed trustees dozens of photos of damage at the Kirkman building. Much of the damage has come from people throwing balls at walls and curtains, although some has been from cleats on shoes.
Students and Barton coaches aren’t the only people who use the Kirkman practice floor. Trustee Mike Johnson said a lot of people enjoy dropping in to shoot some hoops. Young people involved in sports can practice, too. However, some people just drop their kids off for a few hours, and those unattended youths have caused much of the damage. “This is a good example of what happens when a minority screws things up for the majority,” he said.
Refurbishing the Kirkman Activity Center was one of several capitol improvement projects scheduled for this year. Last September, trustees approved $1.6 million in “one-time” projects that included $185,000 for new flooring at the Kirkman Center plus $120,00 to repair walls and fix a drainage problem.
“We’re spending a lot of money on the project,” Rolfs said, explaining higher fees will got toward maintenance and monitoring.
Johnson said some people won’t be happy about the changes, but he supports them. “We have to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” he said.
The Kirkman building can still be rented for tournaments and other uses, such as team practices. Rolfs said the rent does not include the main gymnasium in the attached Physical Education Building. “Our intention isn’t to rent out the main gym.”
Rolfs said he’s talked to the coaches and tried to find a plan that everyone can work with. “The coaches understand, there’s give and take.”
Employment, Economic Development & Education
In other business, Dr. Heilman spoke briefly about the recent “E3” presentation that he and Johnson made to the Great Bend City Council on Feb. 4. “Our intention is a coordinated effort of economic development, education and employment,” he said. More meetings will take place this week.
Johnson said the plan to form these partnerships isn’t something the college is doing alone. A number of potential partners were named at the Feb. 4 presentation to the city council, including Great Bend USD 428, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development, Barton County, and KansasWorks/Kansas Department of Commerce.
“We’re not taking the lead of this,” Johnson said. “We’ll be a very willing partner.”
Johnson also said there has been some confusion in the public since the presentation was made.
“We’re not building a new convention center on the campus,” he said.
The board heard an audit report from Doug Volkland of D. Mcmillen Chartered. “There were no findings or audit issues of any kind,” Volkland said. He also found no material weaknesses.
Dean of Administration Mark Dean said the college takes bids on auditing services every four years and he recently received three bids. His recommendation will be on a future board agenda.
Expanding training programs
Jane Howard, Barton’s executive director of Business, Technology and Community Education, talked about changes to the pension specialist program and the medical transcriptionist program offered at the college.
The program formerly known at Medical Transcriptionist has undergone alignment by the Kansas Board of Regents, in an attempt to standardize programs across the state.
“We are not going to make a lot of changes,” Howard said. The title of this program will change to Healthcare Documentation and Transcription Specialist, and one four-hour class will become two three-hour classes.
BCC currently offers pension administration training, primarily for CPI Qualified Plan Consultants in Great Bend. In the future, the basic certificate program will be broken into three certificates, reflecting different areas that employees may specialize in. Howard also noted that even though the training is done for CPI, the courses could be marketed to other businesses in pension plan administration