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District 25 to get full facilities review by state

Aug 31, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Fremont County School District 25 is one of six Wyoming school districts that will undergo a complete capacity study this year through the state's School Facilities Commission.

On Aug. 23, the SFC approved the use of $850,000 for further study and to develop options and remedies for state districts with capacity concerns.

In Riverton, the study will cover kindergarten through eighth-grade facilities, which district superintendent Terry Snyder said are in need of upgrades or additions.

"We have a number of facility issues we need to have considered in the district," Snyder said during a regular meeting of the District 25 board of trustees Tuesday. "We have some old buildings we're going to have to think long-term on about replacement. We have a high school auditorium I believe needs to be built one way or another. We have a wrestling room across town. A lot of things need work."

The study does not guarantee that new buildings will be constructed in Riverton, but Snyder said the extra attention from the SFC can only mean good things for the district.

"We're going to be on their priority list," said Snyder, who has worked to improve communication with the commission since he arrived in Fremont County. "When we spoke with them last year we were at the bottom of the list, not even on their radar."

He said it is important to ensure that the SFC is up-to-date on the status of FCSD 25, which Snyder considers the second-neediest district in the state next to Laramie County School District 1 in Cheyenne -- where a third high school has been built in recent years.

Part of that ranking has to do with capacity, Snyder said. He referred to an SFC report that shows every Riverton elementary school overflowing with children: Ashgrove Elementary School was measured at 148 percent of capacity last year, Snyder said, with Jackson Elementary School coming in at 126 percent and Rendezvous Elementary School at 131 percent.

"That's 105 percent over capacity," Snyder said. "We need a building."

Some have suggested that the Tonkin Activities Center on West Main could be used for classroom space, but Snyder said the SFC has identified that facility as the sixth-neediest in the state.

"That's not a good site for kids," Snyder said.

The Tonkin Activities Center was built in 1950 as an addition to the original Riverton High School.

District 25 has been recognized as a district that could benefit from a future school site, Snyder said, but SFC funds have not yet been approved for purchase of land for a new building.

District 25 announced this week that it had acquired a parcel of land on West Pershing adjacent to current school property.

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