If a utilities engineer in Kansas seeks hands-on training in a simulated environment, their closest options are either in Oklahoma or Arkansas.
Soon, the appropriate facilities will be right here in McPherson.
The McPherson City Commission unanimously passed a lease agreement on Monday that will allow Kansas Municipal Utilities (KMU) to construct a training facility South of East Avenue A and west of 16th Avenue. KMU was granted 35 acres for the facility.
Jeffery Houston, city attorney, said the facility will look like a “mini-city.” The buildings will provide the opportunity for students to learn more about city maintenance first hand.
“It will allow trainees to practice installing utilities safely,” Houston said.
Mayor Thomas Brown said the facility should help to bring more people to McPherson from across the state for utility installation training.
“This way they won’t have to travel out of town,” Brown said.
In other business:
• Commissioners approved a vacation order filed by Tony Lummus and Edward Grant for a 20 foot wide public utility easement at 1101 West Woodside, and a 15 foot replacement easement location south of 1029 West Woodside, adjacent to the Central Kansas Railroad.
• Commissioners approved a request by Paul Katzer, park superintendent, for the purchase of greenhouse supplies. The approved budget was $2,383.
• Commissioners approved a request by the McPherson Police Department for the purchase of two new 2013 Ford Interceptors. The two cars will serve as patrol cars, and two older models will be traded in. The cars also will be outfitted with two Watchguard DV1 systems, as opposed to the Icop systems the police department utilizes in other cars. Police Chief Rob McClarty said the replacement is due to the high cost of maintenance of the Icop system, while the DV1 is cheaper and more user-friendly. The approved budget for the cars and equipment was $49,110.
• Commissioners approved a budget of $2,248.57 for the fire department’s yearly purchase of uniforms.