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Board approves property purchase, repairs

The Thayer Central Board of Education approved the $55,000 purchase of 645 No. 9th St., just north of the practice football field after a brief discussion with Ag teacher Rachel Eickman and Rick Gillham, who is in charge of the school’s maintenance.
The district is also required to pay half the closing costs. The price will be paid out of the district’s building and depreciation funds.  
Eickman said she was asked by Superintendent Drew Harris about what she would do if they decided to purchase the property. She answered with a list of FFA projects for the 4.5-acre property.  
Included are animals, two pigs for a feed trial, farm education, raising laying hens, fruit trees for the school lunch program and water and electricity for the football field.
Eickman said she could fit 18 trees in the northeast corner of the property and possibly add bees to pollinate the trees and educate students.
“We could have bottle calves. Other programs are doing it in McCool Junction, York and Cross County,” Eickman told the board.
To obtain grants for the project, Harris said if the school purchased the land, they would be eligible for grants that award based on what the applying entity (Thayer Central) is already doing to help its students.
Board president Curt Mumm said to buy the property is an opportunity because Hebron is landlocked.
In addition, the property has the potential for multiple uses beyond FFA.
“We’re going to the public with phase two soon. Down the road, we’ll be asking for a lot of money for different things,” Board member Rob Marsh said.
Harris agreed with Marsh, however, he said if the district waits to purchase the property, it may be sold to someone else.
In other business, the board approved a $200,000 cap for repairs and improvements. At the high school, various painting projects, including the gym walls are on the facilities projects list, along with stage lighting.
At the elementary finishing the tech room, reconfiguring showers and gym floor and border strip work is needed. Additional projects will most likely be scheduled for next year.
Also discussed were the 23 applicants for the athletic director position. The board scheduled a workshop for March 15 to go over applications. On March 20-21, the board will meet with candidates, who will also tour and talk with coaches.
Enrollment was an item of priority as Elementary Principal Kurk Wiedel explained 35 four year olds and 29 three year olds are scheduled to attend Rising Stars for the 2017-2018 school year.
“And that’s the ones we know about,” Wiedel said to the board.
Those numbers are in stark contrast to the 18 to 19 kindergartners attending next year.
Harris said a recommendation will be made next month on the matter.

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