Newton schools plans greenhouse dedication Oct. 1


By Matt Clevenger

For the Miami Valley Today

PLEASANT HILL — Newton Local Schools will host two dedication ceremonies for a newly-constructed greenhouse for students on Friday, Oct. 1, as part of the festivities during the district’s annual Fall Fair celebration.

“We’re looking forward to that,” Superintendent Pat McBride said. “There are a lot of people who have donated to that cause, and they will all be invited to one of those dedication ceremonies.”

“The ceremony itself will be fairly short, maybe 15 to 20 minutes, but those donors will be recognized,” he said.

The first dedication ceremony will be held at 12:30 p.m., and is mainly for students. The second ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m., during Fall Fair night.

The greenhouse has been under construction since spring, and the project has faced several delays along the way. Some parts are still on back-order, but the greenhouse is expected to be fully operational sometime in January or February.

“It’s been a long, arduous process,” McBride said. “Originally, we broke ground back in April, and it was supposed to be done in May. It’s like a lot of things; it was blamed on COVID, they couldn’t get the parts and so on.”

“It is probably 90% completed,” he said. “There are some controls that need to come in. We need to hook up the heating system; there’s a big fan that still hasn’t come in that’s in the top of the greenhouse that controls the heat going down.”

“I know the control part of it is six weeks out at least,” he said. “My hope is that we have everything so that it’s operational in February. I think that’s a reasonable timeframe.”

McBride announced the greenhouse dedication during the district’s regularly scheduled school board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 9. In other business, school board members also voted to approve the hiring of Trina Short for the position of Local Professional Development Committee Administrator for the 2020-2021 school year.

Board members also approved a salary restructuring for the position of assistant principal with no additional compensation.

“This is not an increase,” McBride said. “We just wanted to re-state what we had stated earlier in the summer.”

Board members also heard reports from Treasurer Nick Hamilton and K-12 Principal Danielle Davis.

“We’re in a pretty good position financially,” Hamilton said. “As of the end of August, the general fund has $3,589,371.81; that is $712,000 ahead of where we were to start the fiscal year.”

“We have had no draw downs on the ESSR funds, which is the stimulus money,” he said. “That is $565,054.57. We have that available to use until 2024. So far, we haven’t touched that money.”

During the principal’s report, Davis discussed the district’s open enrollment figures and upcoming Homecoming celebration.

“Next weekend is homecoming,” she said. “We play Botkins soccer home at 7:15 p.m.”

“We will start with the parade as normal,” she said. “The parade line-up is at 5:30 p.m., and the parade will start at 6 p.m. The theme is revolving around movies this year, so every grade level 9-12 picked a certain movie to do for their float.”

“The Homecoming ceremony will start promptly at 6:30 p.m. out on the soccer field,” she said.

Davis also discussed the district’s open enrollment figures.

“I did not share open enrollment numbers last month because they were still being tallied,” she said. “We are sitting with K-12 at 643 students enrolled, that includes 350 elementary, 292 at the high school, and 48 at the career center this year for juniors and seniors.”

“We’re very proud to have our enrollment that high,” she said. “Hopefully that continues.”

In other business, board members also approved several upcoming overnight field trips, including an FFA trip to Indianapolis, Ind. this October, a high school band trip to Ottawa-Glandorf Band Competition and Cedar Point in October, and a high school softball trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. during Spring Break of 2022.

Board members’ next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13 in the Board of Education meeting room.

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