The Manhattan-Ogden School Board took the first step Wednesday toward an agreement between the district and local nonprofit Common Table to utilize space within the Manhattan High East Campus building at 901 Poyntz Ave. for community meals.

Common Table volunteer Michael Gassmann spoke to the board about the potential partnership

      0201-Gassmann 1

The organization intends to use the kitchen and cafeteria space as a central location for its weekly community meals. Currently those are held at various locations across Manhattan. He says the organization has come a long way in its 10 year existence.

      0201-Gassmann 3

The school board unanimously supported the district entering into discussions to create a memorandum of understanding to outline logistics and legal steps necessary to ensure the district doesn’t lose its tax exempt status on the building, which is being repurposed with the transition of 9th grade students over to the expanded Manhattan High School. Board member Kristin Brighton expressed her support for a partnership.

      0201-Brighton 1

School Board President and Flint Hills Breadbasket Executive Director Karla Hagemeister says she expects growth to be something for the district should be prepared for once an agreement is put together.

      0201-Hagemeister 1

The board’s decision follows about a year’s worth of dialogue between the district and Common Table,  as the district transitions the function of the building from the 9th grade center over to a more administrative use next year.

The Flint Hills Wellness Coalition has supported the effort, finding grant funds for those community dialogues that took place in 2022 and will be providing the agency with access to grants to cover legal costs as they are incurred, according to Coalition Chair Debbie Nuss.

      0201-Nuss 1

District officials hope to finalize a memorandum of understanding and bring it back for final approval by June 1.