The new Sam Barnhouse Center should be ready for use when school resumes after the Christmas break, and the process for replacing president Terry Britton was outlined at Wednesday’s Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education meeting.
During his superintendent’s report, Jim Smith said weight equipment was moved out of the former cafeteria at the old school site on Monday and Tuesday and moved into the Barnhouse Center on Wednesday. He later said the weight room at the center should be ready for use by students when they return from Christmas break next month.
The board approved a motion by Smith to hire current school employee Kevin Fawley to a new position as coordinator of athletic facilities. Fawley will be paid $18 an hour and Smith said his responsibilities will include overseeing the Barnhouse Center and monitoring its use by student-athletes and coaches, in addition to groundskeeping and overseeing other facilities.
Smith said that each coach will be required to have a workout plan for their student-athletes. But he said the facility will also be available to students who do not participate in sports. The goal for the center, he said, is to help the school’s students and athletes be more successful.
“This will be Hillsboro’s version of bigger, stronger, faster,” Smith said. “This facility, hopefully, will take us to another level athletically. … When you see Clinton-Massie with 200-pound split ends and we have 150-pound kids trying to guard them, we’re not going to win that battle, and we haven’t for a long time.”
The superintendent said Clinton-Massie has had a similar plan in place for a long time. He also said he wants Hillsboro students to enjoy the center, but also use it with a purpose in mind.
The meeting was the last one for five-year board member Britton, who was recently elected to become a Highland County commissioner beginning next month.
The board voted unanimously for vice president Bill Myers to serve a president pro-tem during next month’s organizational meeting. The board set a deadline of Jan. 6 for accepting applications from anyone interested in filling the open spot on the board. Smith said the board will likely interview applicants at the conclusion of the annual board organizational meeting that was set for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9.
If the board elects to keep meeting regularly on the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m., Smith said the board would likely make an appointment to fill Britton’s spot on Jan. 18. Anyone interested in the position should submit a letter to school treasurer Ben Teeters. If the applicant is new to the board, they should include a resume.
“We’re gonna miss you like crazy and I will miss you especially,” Smith told Britton. “I’ve been around a lot of school boards at a lot of places for a long time, and Terry is one of the best.”
Britton said he has enjoyed serving on the board.
“I think we’ve learned we can agree to disagree on a lot of things, but when we come out of there we’re a unit,” Britton said. “I think that has helped get a lot of things done, especially athletically with a track, athletic building, and concession building, and we’ve set up the future for more things to come. I’m saddened to leave, but excited to go on to the next journey as far as the board of commissioners.”
Also during the meeting, Smith recognized staff and students including Matt Schneider, Marci Snively, Sinai Roberts, Charlie Schneider, Hope Tira and Eli Long for their contributions to Project Trust, a team building exercise for seventh graders that teaches students leadership and antibullying skills.
Middle school principal Joe Turner said teacher Matt Schneider brought the program to Hillsboro after working with it for 10 years at East Clinton. Schneider said the goal of the program is for students to get a better understanding of each other and create a more unified atmosphere among students at the school.
As part of the program, 42 seventh graders, 12 high school student mentors and several teachers spent 2 1/2 days at Camp Kern working on skills the program reinforces. A handful of seventh graders attended the meeting and said the program was more than worthwhile.
In other news from the meeting:
• Smith said an anonymous donor has offered to pay nearly $1,000 in charges that have been run up by students on the free and reduced-price lunch program. Smith said students on the program get their regular lunch free or at a reduced price, but if they select a la carte items, they are charged for them. “The person remains anonymous, but I will get their name and send them a big thank you,” Smith said.
• Smith mentioned that since the student body at Hillsboro is smaller than it used to be, the staff numbers will likely be reduced next year.
• Teeters reported that the district’s cash balance at the end of November was $5.62 million, compared to $5.30 million the same time a year ago. He said November expenses were $2.08 million, compared to $1.95 million a year ago.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.