Outreach building becomes No. 1 priority; trustees approve master plan

Posted at 12:30 a.m., Oct. 19, 2011.
By Will Hebert

In the same week the college approved an updated facilities master plan, the Laramie County Community College Board of Trustees learned Oct. 19 a proposed University of Wyoming outreach building on the Cheyenne campus had been moved to the No. 1 priority of the Wyoming Community College Commission’s list of 14 projects.

Wyoming Community College Commission increases university outreach building's ranking

The WCCC passed $85 million in proposed projects, and LCCC’s project, which was originally ranked No. 6 increased to the No. 1 priority. The WCCC will request funding for these projects from Gov. Matt Mead and the Wyoming Legislature based on these rankings.

LCCC Interim President Dr. Miles LaRowe said the WCCC met on Monday, Oct. 17, in Worland to discuss the projects.

“That information was then forwarded to the State Building Commission today (Oct. 19),” LaRowe told the trustees.

However, he said all WCCC requests have been tabled by the State Building Commission because of the short amount of time to study the proposals. LaRowe said the college must also conduct a level-2 study of development for the UW building for project approval.

“The commission has also asked for a whole $9 million in planning money,” LaRowe said. Hopefully, LCCC’s costs for level-2 and level-3 studies for the UW joint facility will be paid for from that fund, LaRowe said. “We’ll see what transpires with the Legislature,” he said.

LaRowe said he expected the WCCC will remain in contact with Mead during November and up to the beginning of the Legislature’s session in January, which could allow the projects to proceed to the Joint Appropriations Committee, skipping the State Building Commission.

However, LCCC trustee Dr. Kevin Kilty said the state requires colleges to provide some funding for projects.

“You remember the old issue about you have to come with some money that’s not state money, and at this point, it’s half coming from LCCC, and we’re hoping to get that from the state, and the other half is coming from UW, and that’s state money,” Kilty said.

LaRowe agreed, saying the WCCC passed a motion requiring community colleges to offer local money of up to six mills.

“So, at some point in time between the university and Laramie County Community College, we have to generate $5.7 million in local funds,” LaRowe said. “The rest can be requested from the state Legislature, the general fund.”

Trustees finalize campus master plan

The board also approved an updated version of the college’s facilities master plan. Vice President of Administration and Finance Carol Hoglund said the approved version is very similar to the one presented to the trustees in August.

Hoglund said one of the projects on the plan is new construction of the currently unused Health Science Building’s third floor. She said the college plans to present a schematic of the project to the trustees at their next meeting on Nov. 2 and plans to complete the project by the academic year of 2012–2013.

Hoglund said the WCCC still must approve the project before the college can move forward.

Trustee Kilty said he would like to see steps taken to frequently re-examine the master plan. He said this could prevent the college from overlooking information such as in a level-1 plan for a fine and performing arts center created by Semple Brown six years ago.

Board of Trustees Treasurer Ed Mosher said he would like the college to retain the information it gathered from the Semple Brown study and view the new master plan as a living document. Mosher said LCCC is not a sterile environment and is always changing, so retaining the previous study’s information could be beneficial.

Board of Trustees Vice Chair Greg Thomas said the board would lead the planning of master plan projects to avoid losing previous information and remain informed.

“We’re going to drive it,” Thomas said. “I think one of our roles here is to make sure that this stuff happens and not just hand it over to the administration and let them do whatever they want.”

Thomas said the trustees need to be directly involved in the planning.

“I don’t think that we need to be afraid and think that we are micro-managing because we’re not,” he said. Thomas said he thinks the college is taking the right direction in having administration do a pre-phase-1 study to determine why certain building projects are needed but said it may be on the trustees to drive the projects.

“I just think that we need to be much more involved in these things than we have been in the past,” Thomas said.

Mosher also said he would like the college to include plans for other land west of Cheyenne owned by the college that’s not currently in the master plan. He said he would like to the college to consider adding it to the master plan.