Barton Community College won’t have an auto mechanics program this fall, according to Mary Foley, executive director of workforce training and economic development.
“It’s on hold for the 2020-2021 school year,” Foley said. “The intention is not to (permanently) close the program,” she continued. “It’s my hope to bring it back,” but a future program will look different than past programs.
Ron Kirmer, Barton’s last auto mechanics instructor, was one of a dozen faculty members whose contracts were non-renewed in May for financial exigency, a reduction in force prompted by the need to cut the budget because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Foley said the program was expensive and enrollment numbers had declined.
No auto mechanic program at Barton also means there won’t be an auto mechanics class for Great Bend High School students this fall, USD 428 Assistant Superintendent John Popp said.
“We have always used their auto program to send our students to, so we will not have auto mechanics for students this year,” Popp said. “We have been in contact with Barton and have been working with students to enroll them in other classes.”
Barton’s fall semester starts Aug. 12, although the natural gas program training starts next week, on Monday, Aug. 3.