(Times Bulletin/Lindsay McCoy)
(Times Bulletin/Lindsay McCoy)

BY LINDSAY MCCOY

Times Bulletin News Writer

lmccoy@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT - The expansion and renovation project at Vantage Career Center is getting close to completion. At Thursday night's Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Staci Kaufman noted that with construction finally coming to an end, the move-in procedure is almost ready to begin. Loose furnishings are set to be moved in on Monday, Dec. 10. While a permanent occupancy date cannot yet be set, a temporary occupancy date is set for Dec. 14.

The $35 million project has been ongoing, bringing much-needed updating to the facilities as well as class and lab space. The seeding and planting of grasses surrounding the building are almost 85 percent complete. The vegetation includes both no-mow and prairie grasses. The school is still working with issues with the new kitchen equipment. Several issues have already come to surface including the flooring grout which is effective, but is showing discoloration which is not pleasing Kaufman, the faculty and staff.

Asphalt repair is also nearing completion, and air filters in the school where replaced after filling with dust from the construction and setting off fire alarms during the previous week.

The construction budget is still looking good according to Treasurer Lori Davis. Vantage is working with Gilbane to make sure everything is balance as construction nears the end. $33 million have currently been spent on construction. Reimbursements in fiscal year 2013 leave revenues at nearly $42,000 with expenses in construction costs totaling just over $536,000.

As construction ends, a new issue has arose. There is a large amount of extra building materials that must be saved in the case of any issues that could arise in the future. Vantage now is searching for extra storage space throughout the building to save these spare materials. The current bus barn may need to be adapted to make space for these items.

With so much of the construction project going well, there is an issue with the solar energy project which has the district considering walking away from it. A great deal of time and effort have gone into putting it together. The administration will be meeting with Solar Energy and their attorney Friday in an attempt to discuss and settle any issues in hopes of making the solar project a reality.

Vantage is also pairing with Boston Reed College to offer additional adult education training courses for its students. Vantage is hopeful that offered courses will not only count towards high school credits, but also will act as dual enrollment courses and will count towards college accreditation. The school is also working towards virtual enrollment classes to offer students.

As Van Wert lost Toys for Tots this year, Vantage and surrounding area schools are banding together in an effort to give children toys for Christmas.

The effort has been named Toss A Toy, and Vantage students have already raised $1,000 and have brought in an immense number of toys in an attempt to help others. With such a great quantity, one cargo van that was expected to pick up the toys could not get the job done alone. Drive One for your school event also raised a total of $5,460 for the school last month.

Contracts were approved for Jo Mohr as fruit sale coordinator, Matthew McDougall, Robert Black, and Edward Klausing for the police academy, Irvin Tumblin for trade and industry courses, Lisa Hatcher for health/business, Jeffrey Stittsworth for welding, Trent Sprow for electrical, and Jim Fast as ABLE instructor. Two donations of steel totaling $16,500 in donations were accepted. Kaufman noted that these donations are necessary to supply the school's welding program.