The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Apr. 22, 2019

School bd. sees athletic complex design

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert City Board of Education had the chance to see what a new athletic complex at the current high school-middle school site would look like during its July meeting on Wednesday.

Architect Craig Beilharz talks about a proposed design for a new athletic complex during Wednesday's meeting of the Van Wert City Board of Education. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Architect Craig Beilharz talks about a proposed design for a new athletic complex during Wednesday’s meeting of the Van Wert City Board of Education. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Craig Beilharz of Defiance-based Beilharz Architects, which also designed the Van Wert Elementary School building, provided a PowerPoint presentation on the complex, which would include a football stadium and practice field, locker room and restrooms, concession stand, a senior citizen/handicap drop-off area, baseball and softball diamonds, as well as a bus storage facility.

Beilharz noted that the campus is a “destination” for many other schools — especially with the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio on the site — and noted a new athletic complex would only increase the campus’ attractiveness.

“I think it’s a nice center for this campus, and I think it will be a fantastic place to see a game,” he noted, adding, “It will be what you guys want (it to be).”

Superintendent Ken Amstutz said the next step in the process would be to get input from the district’s athletic department on what coaches and athletic officials would like to see in the project. No cost estimates were given, since the project is little more than a design concept at this point.

“The idea is to get the pieces in place,” the superintendent said, who added that the district’s athletic fields should be where the students are: the current school site. “Once again, getting the baseball, softball, and all the fields where they need to be and then go from there.”

Benefits of the project would be a centralized athletic complex that can also use the schools’ existing parking facilities — a big advantage over the existing Eggerss Stadium, a Depression-era project built in the 1930s that has little on-site parking.

In March, local residents Kent McMillen and Larry Mengerink brought to the board a proposal that would renovate Eggerss Stadium, as well as add locker rooms/restrooms, and a concession stand. Cost of that project, which didn’t include a fix for the parking problem at the downtown facility, was estimated at $3.2 million.

Later in the meeting, Treasurer Mike Ruen provided a positive financial report for the district, noting that “financially, it was a very strong year for us.”

Ruen said the district ended the fiscal year $1.1 million in the black, with revenues also up for the period, as well as state foundation funding.

Real estate taxes also increased $219,000 and Medicaid reimbursement was up over $120,000. Ruen said one reason Medicaid reimbursement was up was that the district went back and received reimbursement for past years, as well as fiscal year 2016.

Tangible personal property was down approximately $200,000, the treasurer said, which was expected because of the Ohio General Assembly’s elimination of that tax.

Ruen said it was the second straight year in the black after four years of deficit operations. “I think we’re heading in the right direction,” he said, adding that state foundation money should be up another $850,000 or so in the current fiscal year.

The board also approved the hiring of Barbara Rhinehart as a school psychologist, Tricia Ridenour as a gifted intervention specialist, Kaleen Sawmiller as a middle school intervention specialist, and Jason Haggerty as a paraprofessional.

The board accepted Matt Krites’ resignation as head varsity volleyball coach, and later hired Jeff Marbaugh to take that position, while Melissa Miller was also hired as an elementary summer school teacher for this year.

Eva Yarger was also approved as a board member for LifeLinks Community School.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Van Wert City Board of Education will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday, August 17, in the First Federal Lecture Hall of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio.

POSTED: 07/21/16 at 7:49 am. FILED UNDER: News