Chuck Koch (left) and Paul Hoverman spoke to the Van Wert City Schools Board of Education on Wednesday about an expansion to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Chuck Koch (left) and Paul Hoverman spoke to the Van Wert City Schools Board of Education on Wednesday about an expansion to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – The Van Wert Board of Education covered an array of topics during their Wednesday Board meeting, one of which was on the purposed expansion of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.

NPAC Executive Director Paul Hoverman and Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation (VWAPAF) Board Chairman Chuck Koch approached the Board to ask for their approval to expand the NPAC to allow for bigger dressing room areas, practice room areas, storage areas, and other items that would separate the performers from accessing the school areas.

Hoverman noted that with almost all shows, the NPAC has asked to use some of the school's space and noted that this could raise security issues and also creates a space issue.

"We know that we would benefit and we would know that the school would benefit," said Hoverman. "We would pay for it, and we would just ask that we would continue with sharing the cost of utilities and maintenance, which we do now, 50/50, and other than that the school would have use of that area, also."

Although this project will be fully funded by the VWAPAF through money raised as well as grants, the school must approve the measure because they own the building. The Foundation was given $100,000 by a donor a couple of years ago. After applying for a grant earlier this year, the Foundation was awarded a $200,000 grant for the expansion.

Hoverman said that even with the $300,000 they will probably still need to raise some money, but in order to get the project into the new NPAC catalog and to start fundraising, they would need the Board's approval soon.

The addition would sit on the south wall near the loading dock by the high school.

The Board unanimously voted to support the expansion of the NPAC which will be at no cost to the district.

In other business, assistant to the superintendent Bill Clifton explained that the school is working with local law enforcement to make sure school safety is a top priority.

"We have entered discussions with the Van Wert Police Department, including Chief Joel Hammond and Lt. Haggerty and our school liaison officer Officer Greg Blackmore for the primary purpose of discussing school safety," said Clifton. "Out of those discussions we have seen an increase in the Police Department's visibility at all of our locations."

Clifton noted that the VWPD have been visible at the bus stops, at the schools, and in school areas to make sure students are safe.

Clifton also spoke on the renovation of Eggerss Stadium, noting that "Phase One" of the project is expected to start. After being forced to dismantle the visitor bleachers due to liability issues, Clifton noted that the replacement of those bleachers will be on the list for the first phase.

Also on the list for the first phase is to seal and coat the top side of Eggerss Stadium, grinding and re-coating the blacktop parking lot north of the Goedde Building, and installing an 8-foot fence on the south side of the Goedde Building.

The amount of phases and how much is included in each phase is dependent on funding. Phase one is expected to be completed by the first home football game in the fall.

The school will plan to fundraise to support the stadium renovation which was voted on by the community.

The Board also heard a presentation on the Five Year Forecast by treasure Mike Ruen. The forecast is an estimate and is updated twice yearly, however, the cash balance as of June 30, 2022, is predicted to be in the red by $1,233,074. Ruen noted that State funding cuts play a major part in the forecast.

During the meeting, the Board also heard from middle school principal Mark Bagley and middle school teachers Tom Baer and Alexa Terry about middle school career connections classes that helped eighth-grade students to experience various technical careers. Courses involved teachings in technology and engineering and allowed the students to see if they were interested in jobs in those fields.

In her final superintendent report, Staci Kaufman bid farewell to the Board of Education as the May meeting was her final meeting as interim superintendent.

Along with many staffing contracts, the Board approved the following during the consent agenda:

- Full-time employment for Vicki Brunn as superintendent of Van Wert City Schools effective June 11, 2018, and to increase her per Aug. 1, 2018, service days from 10 days as noted in her contract to 31 days at her per diem rate of pay along with insurance coverage effective June 11, 2018.

- An increase to the certified substitute rate of pay from $80 a day to $90 a day; consecutive substitute days 11-60 increased to $110 a day effective the 2018-2019 contract year.

With no further business, the Board went into executive session for the purpose of considering matters required to be kept confidential by Federal law or regulations or State statutes and then adjourned.

The next scheduled board meeting is set for June 20, 2018, at 5 p.m. in the district conference room of the Goedde Building.