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Job Corps work inching forward

Apr 26, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Officials to meet with contractors in May

The U.S. Department of Labor released a construction solicitation notice Friday morning for work on the Wind River Job Corps in Riverton.

Sandy Barton, executive director of the Fremont County Board of Cooperative Educational Services, said the news represents another step in the process toward construction of the job corps, which originally was set to be open by 2011. The facility now is scheduled for completion in 2015.

"It's very exciting that it's moving forward," Barton said Friday. "It's going to happen."

Representatives from the DOL are scheduled to arrive in Riverton in May to discuss the project with area contractors. Barton encouraged anyone interested in the job corps to attend the pre-bid conference at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 8, in the Riverton City Council chambers at Riverton City Hall.

"The biggest thing is that they're actually going to be here in Riverton," Barton said. "They'll go over all the details of it and answer any questions."

She thinks the meeting will begin at City Hall but move to the Airport Road job site later on.

"We anticipate a large crowd," public services director Bill Urbigkit said. "We're really, really excited."

In preparation for construction, the city already has installed water and sewer infrastructure at the job corps' future location in the area known locally as "Griffey Hill." Urbigkit said the city also is building a 2 million gallon water tank next to the property to provide domestic water and fire suppression for the facility.

The DOL solicitation says the new center will consist of seven buildings covering about 161,000 gross square feet. The campus is expected to include a welcome center; an administrative, wellness and student services building; an educational and vocational building; a cafeteria and warehouse building; a recreation center; and two, two-story dormitories.

Work on the project will involve major site improvements like clearing, grading and general landscaping. Roads need to be built as well as parking areas, and the property requires drainage as well as connection to all utility lines. The extent of the work is described in the specifications attachment included in the solicitation, which is available at fbo.gov. Bids for the project are due in June.

When it opens, the Wind River Job Corps should employ about 100 people who will help offer academic assistance and career and technical training to about 550 students ages 16 to 24. The job corps will have an energy industry focus, but Barton said coursework also will be available in construction, heavy equipment and diesel mechanics, electrical and facilities maintenance, office administration, medical office and allied health work, and welding.

She added that the DOL this week approved a $31 million bid award for a similar facility in New Hampshire.

"And then this morning ours comes out," Barton said. "So we'll be the last state in the union to build (a job corps)."

The Wind River Job Corps is expected to cost between $30 million and $40 million.

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