Board Tours District

ST. MARYS — Local board members participated in an annual districtwide tour Monday morning.

Members of the St. Marys Board of Education, Lisa Tobin, Aaron Braun, Ralph Wiley, Brian Little and Ronda Shelby,  walked through the new high school-middle school complex, Dennings Vocational Building, St. Marys Primary School and St. Marys Intermediate School, as part of an annual board trip to see what their administration is requesting — which was submitted in December.

To kick off the tour, board members went to the Dennings Vocational Building, where Memorial High School Assistant Principal Brian Pohl led the board through the building, showcasing the machine trades, Med Prep, electronics and welding programs.

At the welding area, instructor Todd Smith noted the demand in the welding field in this region.

“I can place (all of my students) today with two phone calls,” he said. “There’s that much need in our area.”

Smith noted there are companies in Columbus that call him when they need welders because of the success they have had in the past.

“I’m pretty proud of that,” he said, adding he has graduates who are working coast to coast in the United States, as well as across the globe.

Following their Dennings tour, board members headed to St. Marys Primary School, where Principal Sue Sherman noted a few items on her wish list.

The top item on Sherman’s list was the sealing and re-stripping of the asphalt in her school’s bus loop — Sherman noted the multiple cracks and a pot hole forming in the loop. Sherman also noted coat racks for the dining commons — the current ones are too high for her students. Wiley suggested the welding students cut down the racks approximately a foot and re-weld them.

Sherman also requested cubbies for the kindergarten and first grade classroom — currently her students have wooden hooks.

“Everything piles up,” she said. “The coats are on top of each other.”

Sherman also requested shades or blinds in the teacher workroom, additional tack strips in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms, small mirrors above the sinks in the kindergarten classrooms, a large clock for the playground, as well as additional lighting for the playground.

After visiting the primary school, board members went to the high school-middle school, where they heard the wish list items for the high school, middle school and athletics.

The high school’s wish list included relocating the TVs in the administration offices, installing a drinking fountain in the music hallway, a remote control opening for the auditorium overhead door, purchasing banquet tables for testing/other events, replacing four lathes in the metal shop area and a crowd control retractable system for the commons area. The athletics wish list included epoxy flooring in the new locker room building, additional starting blocks for the track program, a computer/printer/Internet for the new athletic complex, a new PA system, as well as a privacy fence, team dugouts and an ice machine for the soccer complex, mobile soccer goals for the new turf field, a storage shed for tennis equipment and a sweeper for the synthetic turf field.

After leaving the high school-middle school, board members went to St. Marys Intermediate School, where Principal Lisa Elson noted the two items on her list: crack sealing a portion of the playground asphalt and card reader access at an additional door.

“We do the annual board tour in January,” Business Manager Kurt Kuffner said. “In February, the Buildings and Grounds Committee will meet to come up with a list of recommendations to give to the board.”

The list will then go to the board, and in the time he has been with the district, Kuffner noted he has never seen the entire submitted wish list approved.

“The board will approve the recommended list of projects and additional and/or deleted items on the list at the March board meeting,” Kuffner said.

The tour, he added, is also a way for the board members, especially the new ones, to get in the buildings to see what is happening.

“A lot of times, the board members have been through the building but it’s when the students and staff are not in the building, so it’s a different experience,” Kuffner said.