Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News 
New construction projects for local schools were approved at the March 4 USD 231 Board of Education meeting.
Nike Elementary, Gardner Elementary, Edgerton Elementary, Madison Elementary and Gardner Edgerton High School will receive new flooring, partial re-roofs, upgraded clock systems, new boilers and asphalt.
The construction projects are roughly estimated to cost $800,000.
Bruce Kracl, operations director, said the boilers in Gardner Elementary are 40 years old.
He then presented to the board the ways the 2016 Bond Referendum had been used for the various improvements to Gardner Edgerton schools the last two years.
These items included the 2017 renovation of a culinary kitchen, a new band room addition and new classrooms for GEHS, new playground surfaces for all seven elementary schools and three middle schools, New Trails facility, turf upgrades for fields across the district and repairing Madison Elementary’s gym floor after last year’s flood.
“This is amazing,” Kristen Schultz, board member, said. “Wow, this is a lot. Thank you. All our buildings are great. It is impressive.”
Greg Chapman, board member, said he appreciated all the work operations had put in. “All the effort, time and staying on budget, too.”
Voters approved the 2016 Bond Referendum in February 2016 for $29.7 million. $22.9million was allocated for the high school, $4.9million for infrastructure and $1.9million for technology improvements.
Field Biology, Zoology and Ecology Club members from GEHS, also, presented with Aaron Batterbee, GEHS biology teacher, their work with Hillsdale Lake Watershed Testing Preliminary studies for the past two years.
The students said most local drinking water comes from Hillsdale Watershed. Last summer they tested the water as part of a field biology trip through the Kansas Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy Program. They said their studies showed that even though Hillsdale Lake was built to be a 100 year lake in 1982 it will not last 100 years.
It is filling with sediment and algae bloom, students said. They pointed out that leaves in the water last November were detrimental to the vegetation in the area with too much nitrates.
Batterbee, biology teacher, said they want to assist with future studies and monitoring sites. “We hope to leave a ‘legacy’,” he said. “We want to leave something behind. This is a great, great thing.”
The students and Batterbee said they hope to increase participation in the field biology, zoology and ecology clubs.
Third Quarter Shining Star Awards were, also, given to Chris Green, 4th grade Gardner Elementary teacher and Brenda Cloud, kitchen manager for GEHS.