Jul 11, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterThe Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees chose a contractor in June to complete a housing project on the Riverton campus.
Shepard Construction Inc. of Rawlins will be responsible for the $934,500 job that includes a remodel and renovation to the apartments and residence halls at CWC.
Ron Granger, CWC's vice president for administrative services, said the work likely will cost almost $1.4 million after expenses for permits, furniture, equipment and other fees are added to the budget.
"(That's still) slightly under what we'd estimated the bids to be," Granger said.
He anticipates construction will begin this summer, with the dorms ready for use by fall 2014.
Granger hopes the investment in housing will bring more revenues to the college over time. Currently, he said CWC charges the lowest rate in the state for housing because of the condition of the dormitories in Riverton.
"The apartments we have here (are) in very bad shape," Granger said. "When we renovate them ... we can actually charge what they should be charged. ... And we'll fill (the rooms) because they'll be in such good shape."
He wants to use the extra revenue to finance another housing project in Sinks Canyon. Bids for construction there came in almost $400,000 higher than anticipated this spring, Granger said.
"The big thing with Sinks is the utilities ... because of the location," Granger said. "We have that cost for bringing utilities in no matter if we build four or five houses."
He said he has looked at options for reducing the cost of the project, but he doesn't want to jeopardize the quality of the future residence halls.
"We feel that we can't change the design without compromising the project," Granger said. "We don't want to put up something we're not proud of and that students don't like staying in."
CWC budgeted $2.1 million for housing construction in Sinks Canyon, but Granger said the low bid from SDI General Contractors in Lander reached $2.48 million. He recommended postponing the project until the school can come up with more money to pay for it, possibly using revenue from the updated residence halls in Riverton.
Granger said CWC can wait up to 18 months before financing for the construction falls through.
Board chairman Charlie Krebs, who lives in Lander, made sure to reiterate that CWC is not "killing" the Sinks Canyon project.
"We're just putting it on hold for up to 18 months," he said. "That's important."
Students planning to live in Sinks Canyon next year still will have a place to stay, Granger said. Currently, several outdoor education majors live in small cabins at the CWC Sinks Canyon Center, and Granger said an old orchard house on the property could become a living quarters as well.
"We will do something at Sinks one way or the other (for the students) that have signed up and that we committed to," Granger said.