Library popup at Northview

Librarian Andrea Wollenberg shows Irving Bridges some free book options he can pick for his children at the drive-through popup book giveaway Wednesday afternoon at Northview Elementary. The Manhattan-Ogden school district used a $15,000 grant to purchase 2,000 books to giveaway at select school lunch feeding sites through June.

In looking back at a book giveaway he organized, Lucas Loughmiller only wishes he could have had a sign to spin to help direct people to the free books by the school bus.

The Manhattan-Ogden school district’s library services on Wednesday hosted a popup book giveaway at Northview for elementary-aged students, the first of four planned giveaways in June at schools.

After parents went through the drive-through line for free summer meals, Loughmiller was standing on a corner encouraging them to pull into a secondary lot, where parents, or children if they were present, were able to look from their cars and pick from an assortment of free books.

The district typically hosts summer reading programs at elementary schools, in conjunction with the summer feeding programs. But with school buildings still closed to the public because of the pandemic, in-person reading programs wouldn’t be possible.

“Essentially with everything being closed for the summer, we were really worried about students having access to literature,” said Loughmiller, director of library services for the district. “In the years past, we’ve opened up our libraries, and our kids have had action to those collections. With school being closed and not all of our student populations having access to online materials, we wanted to do something that would benefit the student of USD 383.”

Using a $15,000 grant from the Manhattan-Ogden Public Schools Foundation, district librarians bought 2,000 books from the district’s main book vendor Follett as well as local booksellers like Claflin Books and The Dusty Bookshelf. He said the district got good prices on the giveaway books.

Loughmiller said he was proud of the librarians’ decisions to forego any sort of stipend pay for their time organizing and distributing the books, because they wanted as much of the grant to go toward purchasing books as possible.

The district will host other popup book giveaways on June 10 at Ogden Elementary, June 17 at Bluemont Elementary and June 24 at Woodrow Wilson Elementary. Loughmiller said he and his staff will look over remaining books at the end of the month and consider additional giveaways around the district.

MATC purchases, prepares Wamego property as new off-campus center

Manhattan Area Technical College has purchased the former Bluestem Electric Cooperative property at 614 US-24 in Wamego to serve as the college’s first off-campus center.

President Jim Genandt said the facility will help the college offer basic technical education courses for students in Pottawatomie County schools. Of the three buildings on the approximately four-acre property, the main office will remain an office space for faculty and staff, as well as space for some adult education courses.

The main building is set to complete renovation work by mid-August, and Genandt said MATC hopes to offer some general and adult education classes there in the fall.

The two other shop buildings on the property will eventually host technical education courses. Genandt said one of the buildings will see renovations completed in the spring and will focus on healthcare courses. Genandt said the college is still in discussions with business and industry leaders to determine what programs are needed and what the second shop building could be used for.

Genandt said he could not yet disclose the purchase price for the property, as some paperwork is yet to be finalized.

The Wamego center, which will be a few blocks away from the high school, will likely serve between 300 and 400 students once its in full operation in the next few years, Genandt said.

While the pandemic disrupted classes at MATC like most other area educational institutions, some students technical courses were able to finish their semesters with socially distanced, in-person classes. Genandt said he was thankful for the faculty, staff and students’ flexibility in adjusting to the different form of classes.

Memorial stadium closing June 15

for turf replacement

K-State officials will close Memorial Stadium for a turf replacement project that will start June 15.

The entire stadium will be closed to the public during the project. Installation and demolition will last through an expected completion date of July 10.

Donations, grants

The Manhattan-Ogden school board accepted $5,762.67 in donations and grants at its Wednesday meeting.

  • HyVee donated $1,000 to Manhattan High for the art department.
  • Red Brand’s 2020Home Grown Program donated $560 to Manhattan High for the FFA program.
  • Theodore Roosevelt Elementary PTO donated $702.67 to the school for field trips.
  • The University of Kansas Center for Research donated $2,500 to special services for the supports planning project.
  • Scholarship America Equitable Foundation donated $1,000 to Manhattan High for professional development activities.