College OKs near $4M land buy for Jackson site

Jun 22, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees has approved the purchase of two lots that will someday hold an outreach center in Jackson.

The unanimous vote Wednesday evening was met with applause by meeting attendees and trustees.

"This is a pretty significant event right here," board chair Colton Crane said.

"It's something people have been talking about wanting to do for a long, long time."

Crane has been a board member for almost a decade, and he said periodic discussions about expanding CWC's campus to Jackson have taken place throughout his tenure. Until now, however, no solid plans ever materialized.

"We just thought, 'It's not going to happen, property is too expensive, there's no way to get this done,'" Crane recalled. "Great job to everybody who played a role in this."

Teton County voters in May 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.

Money from the tax won't start coming in until December, but Willie Noseep, CWC's vice president for administrative services, said the school will be able to provide the cash for the property purchase using reserve funds for now.

CWC has to take the final steps to close on the purchase of the lots by July 5, he said.

The expenditure involves a $1.375 million payment to Minichristel II LLC, for a .31-acre lot at 235 Veronica Lane, and a $1.36 million payment to Scott and Carrie Kirkpatrick for an adjacent .34-acre lot at 255 Veronica Lane.

"The location is stunning," Trustee Paula Hunker said.

Trustee Ernie Over showed his fellow board members several pictures he had taken of the lots in question. The properties are located close to established mass transit lines in a developed area with commercial property nearby. The land is across the street from a café called Picnic and around the corner form the main Jackson post office and the Albertson's grocery store.

Noseep said the properties were identified before the SPET vote took place, so a letter of intent was signed indicating the sale would go through if funding was granted.

When the SPET initiative was approved, the college worked with land developer Agora Partners to move forward with the purchase.

Noseep said Agora already had the land under contract.

"They were originally going to try to get housing on those lots," he said.

Instead, CWC reimbursed Agora the $65,000 that company had paid in earnest money for the properties - $40,000 for the Kirkpatrick parel and $25,000 on the Minichristel lot.

"In a sense (Agora) forfeited its investment opportunity ... to work with us to basically make it a win for the college," CWC president Brad Tyndall said Wednesday.

The owner of the company also testified to local government officials about the need for a college campus in Jackson, Tyndall noted.

"In a way it wouldn't have happened without him," he said.

Wednesday's vote also approved a $168,000 payment to Agora for consulting fees as well as $21,000 in real estate commission fees to Jackson Hole Real Estate.