CWC looking at Dept. of Health property for new Lander center; Board puts Sinks Canyon housing on hold

(Riverton, Wyo.) – It was revealed last night that Central Wyoming College is working to procure land near Lander owned by the Wyoming Department of Health for a future new Lander center.

The current Lander center is located on the 400 block of Main Street. CWC has been working to find a place in the Lander area to improve upon the space it has now.

“This is a piece of ground with the Department of Health that we have secured right now,” Dennis Egge of the State’s Construction Office told the CWC Board of Trustees last night.

New processes have been put into place for land transfers between state agencies, and Egge said that the transfer is in the works. “The Legislature will have to make some decisions on it,” he said. CWC’s use of the land, the exact location of which has not been revealed, would be under a 75 year lease.

“The state has the funds in place for the architectural services,” he continued, adding that by spring 2014 the college will have a good idea of the programmatic needs for the new facility so structural planning can begin.

CWC’s Vice President for Administrative Services Ron Granger could not be immediately reached for clarifying questions on Thursday.

He told the board on Wednesday that he would be bringing the board bonding options in July to help fund the project.

The board took no action on the Lander center update. During its May meeting, the board approved moving forward with issuing bonds for multiple projects, $700,000 of which would be for the Lander center construction. (Read more about that meeting here.)

During the July meeting, the board will make a final approval of the bonds. The bonds include $3.4 million for construction of new residential facilities at the Sinks Canyon Center and a remodel of apartments on the Riverton campus.

However, the Board on Wednesday night voted to not move forward with the Sinks Canyon construction for the time being.

The low bid for the work came in at $1.94 million from SDI in Lander. Granger said the college had budgeted $2.1 million for the whole project. With soft costs (like architect fees, permits, furniture, etc.) he said the whole thing would cost $2.481 million. “I’d recommend we postpone this project and not accept this bid,” he said.

“I think we need to look at it again … and value engineer all this as much as we can,” Granger said.

He noted that the money from the bonds would be available for 18 months. Trustee Colton Crane said he had concerns with waiting longer to start the project, as construction costs could increase. Crane later agreed that Granger had thoroughly looked into the options.

Granger noted that housing for students who were supposed to stay at Sinks Canyon next semester is still being explored. Ideas considered are rennovating existing cabins or turning the orchard house into lodging.

The board voted unanimously to put the Sinks Canyon housing project on hold.

The board also awarded a $934,500 bid to Shepard Construction Inc. of Rawlins for the remodel of apartments on the Riverton campus. Granger said the remodel would lend to more occupancy because they currently are in “very bad shape.” He said the college would also be able to charge a little more for the apartments than they are currently.