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Shoshoni patrons air gripes about school plan process

Shoshoni patrons air gripes about school plan process

Jun 6, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

SHOSHONI -- Teresa Taylor is dissatisfied with how Fremont County School District 24 officials have handled the new Shoshoni school project.

"This school is the heart of the town," said Taylor, a resident of the small town.

During a meeting Monday at the Shoshoni Senior Citizens Center, Taylor told the board of trustees and other district personnel that the only reason the meeting was happening was because residents wanted it. Once citizens got it organized, she said the district "jumped on the band wagon."

"I would disagree," superintendent Tammy Cox said.

Taylor said there hasn't been enough

co-munication between the district and the community about the future school.

"The school is our main thing here. I can understand some of the reasons (for a new school). I'm not against a new school, but I feel there is no trust, and we are being left out," she said. "I'm just upset that there's not a lot of communication."

Roughly 50 people attended the 90-minute meeting, where Cox, trustees and other key players involved in the future construction project outlined facts about the plan and fielded questions from the audience.

The new school, which will not open for at least three years, will be built to accommodate 500 K-12 students in kindergarten. Currently, about 330 students are enrolled at Shoshoni School.

At the beginning of the meeting, Cox told the group that a core advisory committee thought a fact sheet would be a good way to help clear up misconceptions about the project. Copies of the fact sheet were handed out, and residents were encouraged to share the information with others.

Cox said there are many problems with the current facility, including handicapped accessibility because there are 13 different elevations in the building. Bringing the facility up to code would cost around $19 million. Renovation could cost $23 million. With those figures combined with a growing student enrollment, the state has determined a new school would be the most appropriate route.

The Shoshoni school board is pursuing a 71-acre property near the airport to build the new facility. It's also near 29 acres that the district already owns.

Rich Hardt of the Wyoming School Facilities Department said there are many benefits to the property.

"There are no water issues, the soils have never been disturbed," he said. "It offers expansion in the future."

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