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CWC still seeking ideal site for new Lander center

Apr 24, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Central Wyoming College officials again had limited information this month on progress toward a new facility in Lander.

The project has been a topic of discussion during the past several meetings of the CWC Board of Trustees. Construction must begin by June 30, 2014, or administrators said state funding for the project could be lost.

"We hope to at least get some news in the next couple of months so we can start planning the design for the building," CWC president Jo Anne McFarland wrote in a memo to board members.

She said she is concerned about recent staffing changes within the state's construction management division that could result in "the potential loss of our current cooperative relationship." She said CWC has worked well with the representative who was assigned to oversee the school's state-funded projects over the past four years.

"(We) would hate to lose the substantial work we have done related to the Lander Center project," McFarland wrote.

Ron Granger, CWC's vice president for administrative services, said he plans to meet with state officials this summer to get "more of an answer on what we're looking at" in Lander. In March he said the project was still "in flux."

"It's just because of the situation we're in, and some legislation that was passed put us a few months behind getting some approvals we need to get," he said.

In February, Trustee Roger Gose asked Granger whether he "really (has) some serious land acquisition options available in Lander."

Granger indicated that he was looking at two properties for sale. Last fall he had said the biggest problem with the project was "finding a place to put it." The college already has a Lander center on Main Street, but he said that spot isn't ideal.

"There's just some things that don't fit into that building, and there's still no parking," Granger said. "We're looking for land. ... A lot of people over there are working with us and looking for us, (but) every time we think we have something it falls through."

He said he would like to start the project in 2013, but 2014 would be feasible.

"It just puts us off from what we want to do in Lander and for the students in Lander," he said.

Other work

Granger said work on the Health/Science Center in Riverton continues on schedule for completion by July 2013.

"The front entrance, they're framing that in so you can see what it's going to look like a bit better," he said. "We're talking about the move-in part more than the construction part now, which makes it very exciting for us."

Laboratory casework, ceiling grids and all interior and exterior windows are set to be finished by the end of April, and Granger said the center's roof should be done by May 15.

"We postponed a little on the roof -- I don't know why, just because it snowed a bit," Granger joked, referring to the snow Fremont County has received this spring.

He pointed out that a roofing project has been completed at the campus student center.

"The project included adding some sky lights in certain areas that give us more natural light throughout the building," Granger said.

Finding money

He informed board members about a remodel at Mote Hall, where workers will replace a boiler and fix some windows using money from a fund that was created when the facility was built.

"It's money set aside for (repairs)," Granger said, adding that he recently discovered the fund. "We didn't know where we'd get the money, (but now) we're getting to do all the things we wanted to do."

The college also has saved money on its electric bill this year, Granger said, commending physical plant director Wayne Robinson for his previous work on energy efficiency.

"Our utility bills this year will be less than what they were last year, and it's been a lot colder," Granger said.

This month's electric bill was $4,000 less than the bill for the same month in 2012, he said, though temperatures this year have been seven degrees cooler on average.

"We actually used less kilowatts this year than last year," Granger said. "All those guys involved with that did a great job."

Finally, Granger said he has made adjustments to some plans for new residence halls in Riverton and Sinks Canyon that would lower the overall cost of the projects "without losing the uniqueness" of the future buildings. He plans to collect bids for the project by May or June, with construction to begin this summer. Work should be finished by May 2014.