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CWC master plan eyes construction in Lander, Jackson

Aug 3, 2012 - By Joshua Scheer, Staff Writer

The Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees has approved a master plan that has been in the works since last year.

It was approved 6-1, with trustee Frank Welty voting against.

Trustee Judy Pedersen expressed frustration that she did not have a chance to talk about the plan.

"We went through the discussion thing pretty quick," she said.

Before the vote, president Jo Anne McFarland gave a brief introduction to the plan.

"It's been well studied," she said. "It has been a very, very long effort."

In June, the board had a community dialogue dinner for invited guests to go over the details.

The plan consists of more than 100 pages of information relating to campus facilities and future growth needs. Workshops were held with the communities the college serves as well as with students, faculty and staff.

Anderson Mason Dale Architects representative David Pfeifer gave a "high-level overview" of the master plan during a June dialogue dinner.

The document is required by the state to be updated every five years.

Academic improvement

As part of the master planning process, architects began the early planning stages for a couple of academic improvement projects that already have received state approval.

"The first one is really driven by the health and science center," Pfeifer said.

This includes the repurposing of classroom space in both the Pro-tech and Classroom Wing buildings as courses move to the new building.

The Classroom Wing would take in GED courses and become home to an agriculture/fire laboratory. The bathrooms will also be upgraded.

The Pro-tech building could get an expanded automotive laboratory. Workforce training programs will take over much of the former nursing classrooms.

"The Lander Center, we have spent a lot of time on," Pfeifer said.

The current center is located on the 400 of block of Main Street and is not meeting the college's needs.

"We believe that there is significantly more academic space that could be justified," he said.

CWC is considering the construction of a new home for the Lander Center, but Pfeifer said the "key issue" is "what will the site be?"

He did not say where the college is considering but noted planning for the center would wait until a location has been decided upon.

A preliminary drawing presented to those at the dinner showed an L-shaped building with more than 3,300 square feet of academic space. The parking lot is on the inside of the L, screened from major thoroughfares.

Pfeifer emphasized that the drawing was hypothetical.

Future capital construction

"There are a series of what we call student life improvements," Pfeifer said.

Part of that would be to create a one-stop shop for student services offices.

This could include major remodels to the Student Center and Main Hall.

The master plan calls for a larger food court and an expanded gym for hosting competitions.

An illustrative portion of the plan shows a potential future campus layout and includes hypothetical footprints for as yet unplanned facilities.

"We tried to create a central core of the campus that is walk-able," Pfeifer said.

The maintenance building is shown to be moved to the northern edge of campus.

"Broad ideas should be explored," Pfeifer said of the Jackson Center.

Pfeifer said the location has the possibility to be a leader in hospitality service training, but the current laboratories are inadequate, and there is a lack of affordable housing.

A level one planning study is suggested to figure out what is possible for the location.

Jackson outreach coordinator Susan Thulin said there are many organizations and companies in Jackson that are "eager to partner" with the college.

During the meeting July 18, the board was told to expect an addendum to the master plan that will include more Jackson details.

Brief discussion followed the June presentation, covering additional housing and transportation topics.

All in all, the community members seemed pleased with the plan.

"I think it's very well thought out," said Riverton Regional Hospital CEO Chris Smolik.

Fremont County School District 14 superintendent Michelle Hoffman said it was clear planners thought of students during the work.