College moving ahead with three building projects Cosmetology remodel first on listSep 21, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer
Part one of three.
The Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees approved three proposals Wednesday that will move several construction projects forward in Fremont and Teton counties.
One of the endeavors will aid in the initiation of a new cosmetology program in Riverton.
Trustees also approved the next steps toward the college's agriculture and animal science building as well as the Teton County voter-approved Jackson center.
Initially, CWC wanted its cosmetology students to start classes this fall in the old Styles Cosmetology building, 1202 S. Federal Blvd. However, a state official performed a "cursory life safety review" of that facility last month and determined it would not be suitable, as requirements for buildings used by educational institutions are higher than regular public facilities.
"(He) identified various concerns," CWC's vice president for administrative services Willie Noseep said in his memo to the board Wednesday.
State project manager Dennis Egge said there was not an adequate smoke, fire or carbon monoxide detector inside the building, and there were no alarms in place to notify students in case of an emergency. In addition, he said there are multiple doors that don't open - instead they are bolted shut or are covered with drapes.
He also talked about light safety and compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
"It'd probably be better to pursue something else," Egge said. "You'd be taking a high risk putting students in there as a liability for the college. There are a lot of issues ... if you were to have a situation there."
Skip the bid
Considering the "costly improvements" that would be required to bring the Styles building up to acceptable standards, Noseep said his team decided not to lease the space.
Instead, CWC will remodel a portion of the Pro Tech building on campus, where the cosmetology program will be housed permanently.
The timing of the change is problematic, however, as cosmetology classes are scheduled to begin next month. Administrators said initial coursework can take place elsewhere on campus this semester, but by the spring cosmetology students will need their own dedicated space.
To accommodate the short construction timeline, Noseep said Egge and the state agreed to waive the bid requirement for the project, instead hiring Yeates Construction of Riverton to perform the work outright.
Board chairman Colton Crane voiced some concern about skipping the bid process, which invites any interested contractors to compete for the job.
"We were concerned about the optics to the community," he said.
Egge didn't think there would be negative feedback, though, noting that the state has been struggling to find people interested in construction contracts in the Riverton area. Interest is so low, he continued, that the state already has chosen not to bid out another project being planned for the area.
"We knew we weren't going to get any bidders," he said. "(So this) seems like a ... way to fast-track to get this done for next semester for you all."
He added that Yeates has already done bid work for CWC, at the new student services center and elsewhere on campus.
"I think it's easy to justify," he said. "As long as we keep it local, I don't think you're going to get (complaints)."
The board voted to accept the plan, and Crane thanked Egge for working with CWC on the project, but the board chair also cautioned against breaking protocol in this way in the future.
"Let's not get in the habit of thinking this is something we can (do)," he said.
"I realize this is a different situation, we don't have a lot of options, but policies are in place for a reason. Sometimes when you hurry something you create more problems than you fix."
He's still "a little concerned" about the process, he said, but he expressed faith in CWC staff and the state.
"I've listened to a dozen intelligent people who've said a lot of good things about (this decision)," he said. "I see the point, (but) let's make sure that doesn't happen again soon."
Crane also wondered whether CWC was spending more money than necessary by speeding through the planning process for the project.
Egge countered that the cosmetology program would bring in enough students - who pay tuition and also add to CWC's enrollment-based funding from the state - to justify the expense.
Egge also pointed out that "a large chunk" of the money for the project - $125,000 for improvements to the heating, ventilation and air condition system in the Pro Tech building - is coming out of the major maintenance fund.
The project will cost almost $420,000, Noseep said. The total includes design, construction, furniture, fixtures and equipment.