Justin Bottorff

Justin Bottorff, far right, explains a project endeavor for the ACCS Education Foundation as board members look over conceptual illustrations for a multi-purpose addition at Atchison County Community High School.

EFFINGHAM -- Momentum is gaining support for the ACCS Education Foundation’s first proposal to benefit the Atchison County Community Schools’ system.

Alumni Justin Bottorff and Patrick Kearney presented their proposed capital improvement project during the USD 377 Board of Education members present for the regular meeting on Wednesday. Bottorff and Kearney are both contractors. Kearney is a former school board member.

The concept centers on an 8,390 square-foot multi-purpose addition to the west of the existing high school gymnasium. The addition as proposed would house: A weight room facility, a multi-purpose turf room, two new locker rooms, wrestling room, a mezzanine for storage and a Federal Emergency Management Agency compliant shelter. The estimated cost of the project is $559,000. A main advantage of the proposed concept is it will offer the ability to keep the students indoors. Construction costs will not involve capital outlay dollars.

Bottorff referred to the previous failed bond issues in recent years, and said he heard feedback that opponents did not want to spend tax dollars for sports. Bottorff said he has observed the successes of some projects to benefit the Atchison community.

Both Bottorff and Kearney agreed these types of projects in other school districts have been successful with funding from various foundations and grants and there are contractors ready to rally. There are plans for a meeting with Justin Pregont and Travis Grossman, of the ongoing Fox Theatre renovation project. Bottorff said he expects they will share their community project experience.

Following the presentation and a consensus among leaders, Board President Nancy Keith formally expressed support for the project on behalf of board members.

The ACCS Education Foundation is a recently established an organization and have applied for a 501c3 non-profit educational foundation to support the education offered districtwide as a way to offer opportunities for all to be charitable to the district with an ability to receive the benefits of a tax deduction. Foundation board members initially heard the proposal from Bottorff and Kearney at the organizational meeting in January.

Concerning other matters, board members:

*Unanimously voted to extend administrative contracts to Gaddis, Scherer, Wallisch, and McMillan the through the 2019-20120 school year. The board action followed different executive sessions to discuss non-elected personal matters and for negotiation purposes. Board members first recessed from public session 25 minutes with ACCJSHS Principal Deanna Scherer and Gaddis. Scherer exited. Board members continued to meet with Gaddis for an additional 20 minutes. After the board returned to regular session, they took action to go back behind closed doors until 8:45 p.m. to discuss non-elected personnel. After their return to regular session they took action to for a 10-minute executive session with for negotiation purposes. After their return to regular session board members took action to extend the administrator contracts.

*Accepted the resignation of Dan Coder, maintenance director, for retirement purposes after 36 years with the district, effective June 30. Keith recognized Coder and thanked him for his years of service to the district.

*Approved the hire of John Kepler to serve as the Scholars Bowl sponsor per salary schedule; Dorothy Zipp as a volunteer. Board members also accepted resignations from Denise Coker, an elementary school aide, effective Feb. 8, and that of Jeff Henning, bus mechanic, effective Tuesday, Feb. 19.

* Unanimously approved the second-graders participation in the Safety Around the Water Program during the month at the Atchison Family YMCA Cray Community Center in Atchison.

*Authorized Gaddis to change Monday, April 1 and Monday, May 6, the scheduled staff development days, to student contact days if necessary to make up for snow days off school. Board members also authorized Gaddis to finalize a lease and service contract of district copiers.

*Moved the next regular monthly date to Wednesday, March 13.

*Heard a report from Activities Director Cy Wallisch, assistant principal at ACCJSHS, that longtime teacher and coach, Galen Hisey, was to be recognized during Parents’ Night Basketball Game on Feb. 15 with a spirit certificate for his years of support to the district.

*ACCJSHS Principal Deanna Scherer and Principal Mandi McMillan, Atchison County Community Elementary School reported there were eight junior high students and eight elementary pupils participated in the Atchison County Spelling Bee on Feb. 12. The spellers are: Seventh-graders – Lauren Courter, Megan Larson, Renay Myers and Josie Sutley served as alternate; eighth-graders – Cerenity Rogers, Kailea Sandlin, Addison Schletzbaum and Faith Cole as alternate; Brylyn Jolly, Rebecca Caplinger, McKinzee Bauerle, Nathan Palmer, Emma Peak and Kaydeece Fultz represented the elementary school. Ethan Peterson and Audrey Brown were alternates. McMillan also reported the ACCES Student Council representatives recently sponsored a blood drive. The effort collected 28 units of blood. As of Feb. 2, the ACCES first- through sixth-grade pupils have collectively read 12,228,879 words through the Accelerated Reader program.

Board member Lori Jones was absent from the meeting.

Mary Meyers can be reached at mary.meyers@npgco.com.

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