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Buhler USD 313 Board Adopts Names Buhler Beginnings and Crusader Corner for New Reno County Child Care Facilities


By Lucky Kidd


BUHLER/HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Buhler USD 313 Board of Education Monday night accepted the guaranteed maximum price on three construction projects and adopted names of the two new daycare facilities that are part of a Reno County child Care initiative.

The child care facility at Buhler Grade School will be known as Buhler Beginnings and the center in the former Faith Baptist Church at 56th and Plum will be known as Crusader Corner. The other construction project involves renovation of the former Masonic Lodge on East 23rd to be the new home of Ad Astra Academies.

Josh Vogel from construction manager at risk Simpson Construction Services presented bids for the various components of the projects, the base bids for which came to nearly $2.26 million. Action on two alternatives, involving an additional restroom and possible HVAC replacement at the 56th Street facility, is being deferred for now, depending on what work might be needed on a septic system at the 56th street site.

Of the 13 bid packages, at least three were awarded to Reno County businesses, and they were the three largest ones. If the alternatives are accepted, the total cost of the project will come to just under $3 million.

On a related topic, the Board approved a resolution authorizing the district to enter into a lease-purchase transaction through RCB Bank for furnishing the three buildings and other parts of the project, which is also being funded through district capital outlay funds, state grants for the child care facilities, and private fundraising through the Buhler Education Foundation.

The Board approved recommendations from Superintendent Cindy Couchman related to five positions that were created using grant funds, four from ESSER COVID Relief Funds and one from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. When these positions were created, the persons hired and the Board were told some positions would continue and be absorbed into other roles and others would be on a trial basis with no guarantee of continued employment.

Of the five positions involved, two will now be funded through the district and have already been built into the USD 313 Budget. Those are for a counselor at Prairie Hills Middle School and for a math interventionist at Plum Creek Elementary School.

Not being continued is a behavioral interventionist position at Union Valley Elementary School, with the person in that position being transferred to a counselor position at UV, a nurse position that was funded through the KDHE grant, and a half-time elementary art teacher which is the only position involved that will not be able to transfer to a comparable position.

The Board gave the superintendent authority to lengthen school days for the remainder of the school year in the event the district needs to take another snow day, having used up all of the allotted snow days following January’s snow and extreme cold. Couchman also outlined for the board timelines for development of a strategic priorities plan, which is projected to take place later this year.

Among multiple personnel items, the Board approved contract extensions for 2024-25 for principals, assistant principals, district administrators and classified directors. The board also accepted a $1,100 Healthy Habits for Life grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas to Keith Price at Buhler Grade School, and approved a revised destination for a spring clinic for Buhler High School football coaches, who will now attend a clinic at the University of Wisconsin instead of Vanderbilt University as originally approved.