Three enhancements to be sought for new Willow Creek Elementary School

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Now that the new elementary school now on the drawing board has name, Willow Creek,  Riverton school administrators are looking at what enhancements to the new building they can afford.

At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Superintendent Terry Snyder said he’d like to have three features added to the new school, which is now at the 10 percent design phase. First is one more classroom to get to 22 classrooms in the building.  For that, an additional 1,100 square feet is needed which is estimated to cost about $158,000. Secondly, a hybrid kitchen design is being sought, which would cost about $76,000.

Snyder said he would go the School Facilities Commission next month to lobby for the additional square footage needed for the kitchen. The commission has agreed for a serving kitchen, but the district is seeking to also prepare some food there, and not just serve food prepared and delivered to the school.

Thirdly, Snyder said the district would like a full-sized gymnasium at the school, which would require 2,570 square feet more. That would provide a full-size floor, but with only three rows of bleachers on one side. That enhancement would cost about $484,000.

Overall, the total estimated cost of the three enhancements would be $719,000. The three extras were originally pegged about $1.2 million, Snyder said, but they were able to trim down the projects to bring the cost into an affordable range.

The Superintendent said he is confident the first two enhancements are affordable, and he said the district’s depreciation account will be studied to confirm that.

“You’ll have to make the decision on the gym expansion,” he said.

Snyder said there are some funds that “I absolutely want to protect” in the depreciation account, which provides funding for future maintenance and mechanical needs when equipment and such needs replacement, such as the turf at Wolverine Field.

“We’re still three to five years out to have to replace that, but it is an example of a project we want to protect,” Snyder said. “We’ve had some seam separation and other issues this year, but Larry Hartwell brought in specialists to help us extend the life of the turf. We are hoping to get another five years out of it, right now were at the half-way point of its life.”

Snyder said the enhancement decisions must be made by the time the design for the new school reaches 35 percent.

“We’ll sit down and look a the projects in the depreciation account, we don’t want to put the district at risk in any way for things we’ll need. It’ll come down to your decision to any enhancement we approve or do not approve,” he told the board.

Other enhancements Snyder mentioned he would like to add at Wolverine Field include a visitor’s media and coaches box on the visitors side of the field, and he said  RHS would like to enclose the space under the main grandstand for use as storage, but those projects are not on the table at this time, he said.