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Job Corps

Jul 5, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

Awarding the contract, at last, is an important 'yes' for the city

Sandy Barton, the chief of the Fremont County Board of Cooperative Educational Services, is the individual associated most closely with the long, uncertain development of the Wind River Job Corps Center. On Tuesday, the day after the actual contract for construction of the only such facility of its type in Wyoming finally was confirmed, Barton expressed what many people in Fremont County had been thinking for years:

"We thought we'd never see this day come," she said.

Then she added another sentence, equally universal:

"We're excited."

Riverton has had "no" said to it an uncomfortable number of times this year.

In the past few days alone we've learned that the State Loan and Investment Board wouldn't help with the much-needed justice center in Riverton. The State School Facilities Commission heard Fremont County School District 25's request for an auditorium at Riverton High School, by far the biggest school in Wyoming without one, as well as for a new high school wrestling facility to replace the colorful but ramshackle cast-off gymnasium now used to house the outstanding Wolverine program.

The School Facilities Commission said no. To both.

So "yes" on Job Corps was a biggie.

Roughly $41.3 million to build. One hundred new jobs. Three hundred students in training (yes, countable in the local census). An annual federal appropriation of at least $10 million. A state-of-the-art campus in west Riverton. Improved city infrastructure around the facility. And all the extended benefits that go with a list like that one.

By the time the Wind River Job Corps opens, it will have taken a decade to get it done. That's longer than anyone would have wanted, or predicted. But to the young people who will flock to the center for education and training, it will be exciting, new and full of promise.

Come to think of it, it will be the same for Fremont County too.

And well worth the wait.

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