Building projects are focus for districts, college

USD408GroundbreakBd1571.jpg
USD408GroundbreakBd1571.jpg
Marion-Florence school board members and students broke ground May 10 for the district?s new gymnasium and indoor pool. Completion was projected for February 2008.

Building projects, both begun and proposed, were the biggest developments of 2007 for the Marion-Florence and Hillsboro districts.

Projects approved for USD 408 Marion-Florence in 2006 took shape in 2007 while voters in USD 410 Hillsboro narrowly approved a four-part initiative in a $6.625 million bond election in June?only to have part of it stymied by a lawsuit.

Beyond building projects, several districts within the county, plus Tabor College, experienced transitions in administration positions.

Here are the highlights from 2007.

January

The newly formed Hillsboro High School Chess Guild placed third in its first interscholastic tournament, which was hosted by Sunrise Academy.

Goessel High School was informed it would be one of 18 high schools in the state to receive the Governor?s Achievement Award for its accomplishments in academics.

February

Elise Heyen, an eighth-grader at Hillsboro Middle School, won the Marion County Spelling Bee by correctly spelling ?analyst? in the 13th round.

USD 410 Marion-Florence broke ground for the construction of a new auditorium as part of its facilities expansion project. The building could be ready for use by the end of the calendar year, according to officials.

Tabor College President Larry Nikkel announced his intention to retire from office at the end of the calendar year. He was inaugurated as interim president in 1998 and as president in 1999.

A nonexplosive practice grenade discovered inside Marion Middle School put students and teachers in a lockdown situation for three hours before officials concluded the grenade posed no threat.

The USD 410 Board of Educa?tion voted to adopt a resolution calling for a bond election June 5 to commit $6.625 million for facility improvements. The project would address four facilities: the elementary school, high school, central offices and transportation facility and an athletic stadium in partnership with Tabor College.

March

Elise Heyen, HMS eighth-grader, placed fifth at the state spelling bee in Topeka. She was one of 99 spellers.

April

Children in Marion County are making healthier choices than their peers statewide when it comes to tobacco use and binge drinking, but they continue to suffer a higher rate of violent deaths. Those were some of the key findings of the 2007 Kansas Kids Count data released this month.

Gordon Mohn, USD 410 superintendent, announced his intention to retire following the completion of the contract year June 30. Mohn then accepted a position with the McPherson district as director of its special education program.

The following vocalists from Hillsboro High received ?I? ratings at the Class 3A state solos and ensembles contest: Spirit-N-Celebration, SNC girls, SNC boys, Alysha Claassen, Darren Enns, Ben Heyen, Lauren Just, Maria Loewen, Heidi Schroeder, Aaron Stepanek, Michael Suder?man, Tyler Suderman and David Vogel. Receiving a ?I? for instrumental music were Spencer Brown (tuba), Darren Enns (trombone) and Clay Shewey (snare drum).

Joanne Loewen was named this year?s recipient of the Clarence R. Hiebert Excellence in Teaching Award at Tabor College. Loewen, a Tabor grad, is assistant professor of education.

May

A first public information meeting for the $6.625 million bond election in June drew about 20 USD 410 patrons May 5.

Tabor College established the Carson Center for Mission, Service and Global Education with funding received following the closing of the Carson Men?no?nite Brethren Church in Minnesota. The purpose of the center is to educate students about missions and provide opportunity for mission experiences overseas.

USD 410 Marion-Florence broke ground May 10 for the construction of its new gymnasium and indoor swimming pool. Plans call for the project to be completed within a year.

Rusty Allen was appointed vice president of enrollment management at Tabor College. He has worked in admissions and enrollment management since 2003.

Ronald J. Sider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, was the speaker at the Tabor College commencement May 19. More than 130 students received degrees.

Travis Riesen, HHS senior, was honored as an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.

The USD 410 board approved the purchase of 41 laptop and 25 desktop computers at its May meeting. The computers would be purchased through Gateway for $66,196.

Five valedictorians were feted at the commencement for 61 Hillsboro High School seniors May 20. Achieving a perfect 4.0 grade-point average were Chelsey Harmon, Kelsie Penner, JuliAnne Chisholm, Jenny Whisenhunt and Darren Enns. Ashley Stout was salutatorian.

The Tabor College music department announced it will launch a community chorale for all area residents. Bradley Vogel will serve as director.

The HHS fall production of ?Shenandoah? earned six Jester Award nominations through Music Theater of Wichita. Two nominations won the award: Aaron Stepanek, David Vogel, Darren Enns and Alex Jost won for ?Outstanding Production Number,? while Enns won the ?Outstanding Lead Male? award.

June

Patrons of USD 410 passed the $6.625 million bond proposal by a margin of 465-404. However, Raymond Brandt, a patron from rural Hillsboro, filed a lawsuit shortly thereafter in an effort to block the use of public funds for the stadium project planned in partnership with Tabor College. Brandt and his attorney contend such a partnership is not authorized by Kansas law.

Doug Huxman was hired by the USD 410 board to be the district?s interim superintendent for the 2007-08 academic year. Huxman, who was superintendent in the Marion-Florence district from 1990-98, will begin his new duties Aug. 1.

Tona Leiker was named the inaugural dean of the Tabor College School of Adult and Graduate Studies in Wichita. Leiker has worked with the program formerly known as Tabor College-Wichita since 2001.

Four HHS students competed at the 29th National Technology Student Association Conference in Nashville. Evan Just, Neil Kaiser, Isaac Leihy and Lonnie Benda earned first- and third-place trophies for inflight endurance, a third-place trophy in structural engineering and placed seventh in dragster design.

July

USD 410 board has been exploring alternate locations for its central office and transportation center. The board?s original plan was to move it into the former AMPI building, which was damaged by fire in April.

Several new administrators will begin service in school districts around Marion County this fall. Rex Watson is the new superintendent at Peabody-Burns and Jerri Kemble at Centre. Tim Robertson is the new principal at Peabody-Burns middle and high schools, Jim Piper at Marion High, Rod Garman at Marion Elemen?tary, Jim Grout at Goessel junior-senior high and Nadine Smith at Centre High.

Jim Clark, Durham, was honored July 21 for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.

August

The USD 410 board received the green light to authorize the sale of general obligation bonds for three of the four projects approved by voters in the June 5 bond election. The exception is the stadium project with Tabor College, which is still under litigation.

The 2007-08 school year began with four new teachers at USD 410: Chris Herbel through the Marion County Special Educa?tion Cooperative; Collette Haslett, fifth-grade; Jeff Haslett, high school physical education; and Danny Lundberg, elementary PE.

Jeremy Jordan, a 2005 Tabor College graduate, was hired as the new alumni relations director at Tabor.

The annual U.S. News & World Report?s ?America?s Best Colleges? issue ranked Tabor as the 40th best among baccalaureate colleges in the Midwest region, which was up from 51st place last year.

September

The USD 410 board decided to build a new facility for its central office and transportation center instead of locating them in the former AMPI building. The new facility will be located along North Adams Street just south of the city shop.

Marlene Fast, former owner of Fast Realty in Hillsboro, was named director of development at Tabor College. Fast sold her real estate business to Glenn Thiessen.

Dale Honeck announced his intention to retire as principal at Hillsboro High following the completion of the school year.

October

Shin-hee Chin, assistant professor of art and graphic design at Tabor College, won ?Best in Show? at the Fiber Focus 2007 exhibit in St. Louis.

Jules Glanzer, 55, a Tabor College graduate who is dean of George Fox Evangelical Semin?ary in Portland, Ore., was named the next president of Tabor College, effective Feb. 1.

Tabor College dedicated its new student townhouses Oct. 20. The ?Continuing a Legacy of Distinction? capital campaign raised $8.8 million for the townhouses and other projects. More than 3,000 donors contributed to the campaign. The largest single gift was $750,000 by the Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla.

November

Jim Robb, social studies instructor at Hillsboro High, received the Kansas Council for the Social Studies ?Excellence in Teaching Award? for 2007. He has taught at HHS for 13 years.

HHS presented ?Seussical the Musical? as its fall production.

Max Heinrichs, assistant principal and activities director at Hillsboro High, received the ?2007 Assistant Principal of the Year? award from the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals.

Marion High School presented ?Beauty and the Beast? as its fall production.

To celebrate the achievement of ?Standard of Excellence? testing achievements by all three schools within USD 410, the board of education gave students, teachers and staff an extra day of vacation around Thanks?giving Day. The Goessel school board issued a similar proclamation for its schools.

Max Heinrichs, current assistant principal and activities director, was named the next principal at Hillsboro High.

The first Construction Technology class at Marion High has begun building a house in Marion as its class project. The home is being constructed for developer Brad Seacat. The intent is for the class to build one new home each year.

December

Doug Huxman, USD 410 superintendent, said construction should begin on two of the four facility projects within a month. Projects at the elementary and high school will be the first to start. Construction on the new central office and transportation center will begin in early 2008. The stadium project is stymied by litigation.

The USD 410 board approved an interlocal agreement with Tabor College that may resolve property ownership issues currently tied up in litigation. The two entities want to co-develop and co-own a new football and and track-and-field facility, as approved by voters in the June 5 bond election.

Tabor College President Larry Nikkel said he was entering retirement with a few disappointments but no regrets about his work as president for some 9? years. ?I?ve been blessed with people?s generosity,? Nikkel said.

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