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Shoshoni school delayed; lack of construction manpower

Mar 23, 2016 By Christina George, Staff Writer

A worker shortage is delaying the opening of the new Shoshoni school by two months.

Fremont County School District 24 originally was set to move into the $46 million K-12 facility June 30. Now the move is scheduled for Aug. 29.

"The school schedule has been pushed back ... and my understanding is that it's because of not having enough workers to get things done," said school superintendent Bruce Thoren.

Shoshoni doesn't have a large workforce to pull from given its low population. Most of those working on the new school have to travel from other communities.

"We don't really have a lot of apartments for rent or hotels to stay in," Thoren said. "They have to bring in campers or travel back and forth from Riverton or Thermopolis."

Students are scheduled to start the 2016-17 academic year off in the current building Aug. 22. Thoren said the district intends to transition into the new building during the Labor Day weekend.

"We will have to put together a full transition plan," he said. "There are lots of things that have to be considered."

Thoren said portions of the new 135-square-foot building might be ready for move-in sooner.

"The building was built in phases, so we will have areas of the building where we can definitely get fully moved into and ready to go," he added.

Property purchase

The FCSD24 Board of Trustees voted March 21 to spend $14,000 on property for an access road to the new school site.

The building is under construction on property off of West Seventh and California streets in north Shoshoni. Crews have been using Eighth Street to access the site, which is owned by the Bebout family, not by the town.

"The Bebouts were gracious in working with us and allowing us to deed the property to the town so we could pave the road and get utilities in there with the intent we would swap land or purchase the property," Thoren said.

Thoren said the board voted to purchase the .71 acres with money it set aside years ago for new school construction.

Now that FCSD24 has come to an agreement with the Bebout family, Thoren said the district can refocus on trying to sell facilities and associated land on the current school site. The district hopes to sell the property for money to go toward enhancements in the new school.

The administration building and the vocation shop have interested buyers.

There's also a proposal to renovate the main building into a Bible college. Thoren said trustees will revisit the idea during their April meeting.

Bricks for the bronze

Thoren said the district was able to raise about $12,408 by selling 279 personalized, engraved bricks to circle a bronze sculpture that will be installed at the front entrance of the new school.

The bronze will pay tribute to the school's mascot, the Wranglers. The piece will be created by famed Wyoming sculptor Chris Navarro.

Groathouse Construction and the new school architect, Plan One, have offered to pay for three-quarters of the bronze project. FCSD24 is responsible for the remaining amount.

"We were happy with the results," Thoren said. "We were looking to raise minimally $5,000 to pay for our portion of the bronze, and we exceeded that, so we've got some funds to pay for the base for the bronze."

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