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184,000 strong

Nov 30, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

That's the equivalent number of 'users' of Central Wyoming College

We hope readers took note of reporter Katie Roenigk's story a few days ago about Central Wyoming College facilities and the public's utilization of them. The college has reported that 184,000 people made use of college facilities and programs last year on the main campus in Riverton or the satellite locations in several other spots around the state.

That's a figure equivalent to about 15 times the population of Riverton, 25 times the population of Lander, and more than four times the population of all Fremont County. Put another way, it's the equivalent of one-third of the entire state of Wyoming visiting, attending and using a CWC campus.

Statistics are statistics, and this one doesn't mean that 184,000 different people actually are involved, here, but rather that attendance and/or participation in CWC-sponsored events and performances was 184,000.

Turnstiles, conference rooms, bleacher benches and theater seats don't know one person from another, meaning that the practical effect is the same. For a community our size, that's a heck of a number.

Even if you've never been to a volleyball match, you may have been to an art exhibit. You might not have seen a play at the theater, but you may have attended a workshop at the ITEC center. Never had a sandwich at the food court? OK, but you might have gone to a concert in the Little Theater, or listened to a guest speaker on campus, or enjoyed the apple trees at the Sinks Canyon Center, or taken a class at the Lander Center, tooted a horn in the community band, or thrown a pot in the Arts Center's south wing.

We have a feeling that the 184,000 number doesn't even include the crowds that flock to the Riverton campus for hot-air balloon rally launches every July, or fill the lawn beside Circle Drive for the Riverton Rendezvous car show, or play a round of disc golf on the campus course.

And are the hundreds of high school students in town for the Wyoming State Drama Festival part of the total? They arrived Thursday en masse, and buses, faces and voices filled different parts of the campus with a bustle born of creativity. By the way, they all are staying over for a night or two, spreading the effect of the college's locations and facilities throughout the city in the form of dollars spent on lodging, food, gasoline and other commerce.

Rising quickly in Riverton is the new CWC Health/Science Center, which will house the college's highly valued nursing school and other science programs. College leaders note that once it's complete, the new center will be a high-tech magnet for conferences and training throughout the West.

We've said it once, and we're enthusiastic about saying it again: The importance of Central Wyoming College to Fremont County's educational, social, cultural and economic life can't be overstated. Now there is a new set of numbers to reinforce what we already knew -- but a positive reminder never hurts once in awhile.

Chances are you were one of the 184,000 (or equivalent) users of Central Wyoming College last year, but if you weren't, there's no time like the present. Fremont County is more than fortunate to have CWC, and if you haven't found something there for you yet, don't worry -- you soon will.

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