Gov says next year; JAC says now

LARAMIE–“Maybe next year,” Wyoming’s governor said Jan. 17 about state funds for Laramie County Community College’s flexible industrial technologies building.

At a news conference hosted by the Wyoming Press Association during its 115th annual winter convention, Gov. Matt Mead explained his support for the new flexible industrial technologies building, but not for the new student services building as laid out in the governor’s 2015-2016 biennium budget proposal to Wyoming’s Joint Appropriations Committee, which voted Jan. 23 to fund $11 million of LCCC’s student services building.

“I recommended funding for one project but not the student center. Part of that is the prices [of the proposed student services building] have gone up since they originally looked at it. I would certainly be willing to look at that next year. Maybe it will be in a better place,” Mead said regarding the incorrectly calculated construction cost of the student services building presented to him in the first stages of planning.

Laramie County taxpayers voted Nov. 5 to fund $25 million of LCCC’s $47 million “Building Forward” plan, which will expand the college’s campus with two new buildings: a flexible industrial technologies building and a student services building. The new buildings were ranked by the Wyoming Community College Commission as the No. 1 and 2 priority projects for community colleges in Wyoming.

The $22 million–not provided by Laramie County taxpayers--needed to finance the rest of the expansion would come from outside sources such as state Legislature, according to the “Building Forward” campaign website

The governor’s budget proposal to the JAC--$14 million for LCCC’s flexible industrial technologies building, and no mention of funding for its student services building--does not eliminate the project from receiving state funding. The governor’s biennium budget proposal left LCCC $8 million shy of its $47 million funding target.

His proposal also left $238.6 million unallocated for the Legislature to disperse as it sees fit, which gives LCCC an opportunity to receive additional state funding during the 2014 state Legislature’s budget session in February.  

Building Forward