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Bureau Valley making plans to construct $100,000 livestock handling lab facility

It is designed to enhance agricultural education offerings

MANLIUS — The Bureau Valley High School Ag Department plans to have a $100,000 livestock handling lab facility constructed on school grounds beginning this fall.

The facility will be built directly behind the existing tractor shed and be utilized to enhance the animal science classes offered in the district.

William Anderson and Caseelyn Johnson, high school ag teachers, presented the project to the Bureau Valley School Board on Tuesday. Anderson said the Ag Department has already secured more than $78,000 through fundraisers, grants and donations for this project, and he’s “very confident” the remaining $22,000 will be raised this summer through donations and possibly additional grants.

Anderson said the Ag Department was not looking for any financial support from the board, but just an approval for the project so that he and Johnson could move forward on their plans to have the facility constructed.

The board voted 7-0 in favor of the project, but members said they wanted to be sure this sort of facility is in line with guidelines set by the Regional Office of Education and Illinois State Board of Education since it will be built on school grounds.

Interim Superintendent Amber Harper said this sort of facility is unique. No other area schools have a facility quite like this, so she wanted to be sure it’s in line with the guidelines.

Board member Matt Wiggim said the new facility will enhance the agricultural education for Bureau Valley students.

“I think being from a rural community, having the ability to expose more of these kids to the livestock side of it would be a great thing for them and for producers in our area who can’t find qualified labor,” he said.

The current plan for the facility is to begin construction in September. Anderson and Johnson have estimated it will take about six months for the external portion of the facility to be constructed.

If plans go accordingly, they hope to begin hosting lab classes for the junior high and high school ag and pre-veterinary science classes at the beginning of next school year.

In other business, the board approved:

• The retirement notices of Carol Larkin and David Larkin as Bureau Valley North teachers; they will retire at end of 2022-23 school year.

• The resignations of Jason Spang as high school principal, Lauren Spang as Bureau Valley North Title I teacher, Joan Christian as Bureau Valley South paraprofessional, Molly Gloria as high school paraprofessional, Laurel Forlano as high school flags sponsor, Andrea Bauer as high school cheerleading coach, Brianne DeBrock as high school assistant softball coach, David Lind as high school head teacher and Brian Humphrey as high school head softball coach.

• The employments of Robert Benck as high school cross country coach, Tracey Schoff as junior high head robotics coach, Keegan Roth as junior high assistant robotics coach, Darcy Kepner as junior high head softball coach, Ryan Schisler as junior high head baseball coach and Brett Helms as junior high assistant baseball coach.

• The transfer of Laura Reuter from part-time Bureau Valley South paraprofessional to Bureau Valley Elementary full-time paraprofessional.

• Chris Maynard as volunteer junior high girls softball coach.

• The addition of junior high boys baseball for the 2019-20 school year.

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