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CWC to keep pushing for state funds to build Jackson facility

Apr 25, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Teton County residents would be responsible to supply local matching funding for the project.

The Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees is going to try again to acquire state funding for a capital construction project in Jackson.

The Wyoming Legislature did not approve spending $11.78 million this year on a commercial learning kitchen, nursing and science labs, classrooms, and academic and student support space in Jackson, where CWC serves the Teton County community.

Ron Granger, CWC's vice president for administrative services, asked for board approval this month to request the funding again.

"I don't know if it'll go anywhere, (but) I think we need to keep pushing that point," Granger said. "Jackson is an important part of CWC."

The request will go to the Wyoming Community College Commission, which submits a list of recommended construction projects to the state each year for funding consideration.

When it was handed in before the most recent legislative session, Granger said the Jackson project was situated at the bottom of the WCCC list.

"(The state) just took that list the way it was," he said.

Next time, he believes the state's construction management division will rank the projects individually, and the Jackson proposal could rise to a higher priority.

"I think this is a good opportunity for us to put it forward again," he said.

During a previous meeting, CWC president Jo Anne McFarland said Teton County residents would be responsible to supply local matching funding for the Jackson project. She said some legislators during the past legislative session "mistakenly" thought the local money would come from Fremont County citizens.

In addition, Granger said the project doesn't fare well in the WCCC's current ranking system for capital construction funding.

"We've been working on trying to get Jackson so it can get some points in the (capital construction) model," he said. "We haven't come up with a plan yet."

The board approved submitting the Jackson center project to the WCCC for funding during the legislature's supplemental budget session in 2015.

According to Granger's memo to the board, the plan is to purchase property in Jackson and construct a new building on the land. The new facility would allow for the expansion of CWC's Jackson-based culinary and nursing programs, which currently are operating at capacity. Granger said the college also could offer more general classes in Jackson once the construction is completed.

Other projects

The board also will inform the WCCC about projects CWC would like to pursue in the future, including a new agricultural sciences building that could be constructed in partnership with Fremont County's fair board and commission, according to McFarland's board memo.

An addition to Fremont Hall in Sinks Canyon, also on the wish list, would provide more and better academic space for students in the Lander area, Granger said.

Trustees also are interested in upgrading and remodeling the Robert A. Peck Arts Center and building a new physical plant facility in Riverton, and CWC is looking for additional housing opportunities in Jackson. Finally, Granger said he is asking the state's construction management division to advocate for another $1.4 million to support a student success center on the Riverton campus.

The Wyoming Legislature already approved and funded one-quarter of the student success project; Granger said the additional money would bring the state portion to 50 percent of the total cost.

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