May 11, 2017 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterAs the prospect of building a Central Wyoming College campus in Jackson has become a reality, some details of the plan have been modified to fit real-life constraints.
Teton County voters this month agreed to spend $3.82 million from a special purpose excise tax on property and architectural and engineering designs for the center, which is slated to serve students in culinary arts, nursing, allied health and outdoor education, as well as those seeking foundational courses, business degrees, entrepreneurial success classes and more.
Initially, administrators were hoping the building would cover 24,300 square feet, but the property CWC has identified for the Jackson Center required some modifications to that design.
Project spokesperson Annaliese Wiederspahn said the two lots on Veronica Lane only have room for about 11,000 square feet of construction, though she noted that zoning changes could impact that number.
"It's evolving," she said Wednesday. "This is all still in flux. (We're) working with the city and county to put these parcels together and see what we can manage."
The property purchase is not yet complete, but Wiederspahn said a letter of intent was signed before this month's SPET vote indicating the sale would go through if funding was approved.
She described Veronica Lane as "pretty centrally located" in Jackson. The site is close to established mass transit lines and is in a developed area with commercial property nearby.
"It's across the street from a (café) called Picnic but also just around the corner from the main Jackson post office and ... the Albertson's grocery store," Wiederspahn said. "It's kind of wedged in there."
Due to the space constraints, she said the firm that has been hired to produce architectural and engineering plans for the center will prioritize making room for classrooms, laboratories and offices.
The initial design document called for 42 parking spaces at the Jackson Center, but Wiederspahn said CWC may have to look at community partnerships in order to provide adequate parking instead.
The project does not include a housing element, but it does involve pathways that will give students access to public transportation.
Funding to construct the facility likely will be generated through private donations. Wiederspahn said a fundraising effort has already been initiated and is "making some pretty good headway."
"We're working on the capital campaign," she said. "(We're) working with all the stakeholders to try to drive the train forward."
The final cost for construction will be determined once architectural and engineering designs are complete, but Wiederspahn thinks close to $8 million will be required.
Current CWC programs use the Jackson Center for the Arts and other small, shared spaces scattered throughout the community. The setup provides numerous challenges for students, from technology constraints to limited curriculum options that can delay graduation.The lack of a central location also limits the number of people CWC can serve in Jackson.
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