School Board hears details of car project

by Dave Cary
Review Correspondent

Taking center stage at Tuesday’s Plymouth School Board meeting was the Tech Club, more specifically the club’s Formula High School Car project.

Club members Tyler Luedtke, Nathan Francis and Logan Kulow presented what went into the project — which was parked in the hallway outside the amphitheater meeting room — to the board.

The students said the club had about 20 members, and included members from all four classes. They met twice a week on the project — with significant help from Beau Biller, Greg Gritt, Ken Odekirk and Jake Sherman as well as faculty advisors. Meetings would typically last three hours or more.

The students took on various aspects of the project, rather that having “all twenty students around the car” and here the project began to resemble an industrial project rather than the stereotypical club meeting. They also engaged in fundraising for the project, and achieved the total budget of about $5,500 in various ways including soliciting donations.

The students developed their own design for the car, both its finished race-car appearance and the structural/mechanical underpinnings that made it go. At various times, they said, the creative work drew upon several courses or disciplines taught at PHS: manufacturing, auto technology, calculus, engineering and design, physics, computer integrated manufacturing, graphics, algebra, welding, fabrication and more.

At the high school car event last year, the car had placed highly, although, the students said, several other schools had not been able to finish the competition due to rainy weather.

Although hardly a muscle car (its 16 horsepower rating is about half that of the Volkswagen

Beetles that came in in the 1950s) and operating on a single gear, the car attained a top speed of just under 40 mph.

In ‘dyno’ testing, which ascertains precise performance levels and permits adjustments, actual horsepower was rated at something over 13, with optimum (fuel efficiency and engine life-extending) operating speeds less than 20 mph at 730 rpm. The car has 23-inch tires, and is 52-58 inches wide with a 81-87 inch wheelbase.

• • •

The board approved both an out-of state and an out-of country travel request. Both trips meet board policy requirements, and both are funded by participants, families or fundraisrers.

• Physics teacher Paul Krzyzaniak will take students to Six Flags Great America next May 17 to participate in Physics Day, an event that revolves around physics.

• PHS Special Ed teacher Jim Meinen, will take students on a service learning trip to Cat Lake First Nation, Ontario, Canada from May 19 to May 28. The trip will involve traveling by van to a point in northwest Ontario, then a flight to Cat Lake.

• • •

In personnel matters, the board accepted six resignations from staff members who had, in the aggregate, some 101 years of service to the district. They were:

• Mary Vanderkin, Fairview third-grade teacher, retiring after 37 years of service to the district.

• Sue Smith, who taught four-year-old kindergarten at Parkview for 27 years.

• Susan Sell, family and consumer science teacher at Riverview for 20 ears.

• Lynn Graening reading specialist at Riverview, after 15 years.

• Samantha Finger, agriculture teacher at PHS, after one year.

• Robert Briggs, English Language arts teacher at PHS after one year.

All resignations are effective at the end of the current school year.

In support staff matters, Katrina Henschel has been hired as Administrative Assistant to the superintendent.

In other personnel matters the oath of office was administered to re-elected board members Sally Isely and Jamie Gambrell, who was appointed to be the board’s representative to CESA 7.

Board president Tim St. Clair announced that board member Pam Holzhaueser was resigning and said the board will take up the procedure to be followed in appointing a replacement next month.

Superintendent Carrie Dassow said she wanted to give a ‘shout-out’ to district groundskeeper Ryan Rush for the excellent state of district grounds — made more trying by rainy weather during soccer and softball events.

• • •

Board member Bob Travis reported that the facilities committee had reached the point in its study of district facilities where it will obtain quotes on certain projects. Travis said the study was being done because there was a “long list” of anticipated future needs and it was wise to have a set of detailed preliminary plans available.

Business manager Jon Miller reported on the project underway of replacing flooring at Parkview and Fairview schools. Miller said some 42 rooms may be involved. He said the best alternative available to the 40-year old carpeting was carpet tiles and that the total cost would be about $470,000.

The board approved the second reading for a package of policy revisions developed over the last year. The revisions sharpen the aims and duties of the board. Approval of the second reading means the revisions are now in effect.

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