Special election to decide new facilities' funding

 

A special election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5, to determine whether Laramie County residents will OK partial funding for LCCC’s construction of two new facilities, the student services, instruction and university center and the flexible industrial technology building.

It will be paid for by the LCCC Foundation, a private entity that works to support the college’s interest through donations. With its 2006 bond levy (obtained to build the Health Sciences building) paid off early, the currently debt-free college is once again seeking community help in expanding its campus.

Dan Baxter, of Kaiser and Co., the firm tasked as financial adviser to this leg of the “Building Forward” campaign, explained LCCC is seeking $25 million in general obligation bonds from the Laramie County community. Baxter explained these bonds will be repaid during a maximum period of 15.5 years with the help of a two–mill bond levy, a 2.83 percent property tax (millage) increase equating to roughly $1.58 a month for every $100,000 of property value for Laramie County residents.

“LCCC has been one of the most timid in terms of pursuing additional facilities, and yet we are one of the largest [Wyoming] campuses. Many campuses half our size are adding residence halls and buildings and buildings and renovations."

Dr. Joe Schaffer

LCCC’s president

“Right now [bond] interest rates are very low, and we want to take advantage of that,” said Baxter, clarifying the reason behind an early election for the bond levy rather than waiting for next year’s regularly scheduled election for state and county offices.

A $47 million venture, this is the first step in the LCCC “Building Forward” plan, an aggressive expansion strategy aimed at alleviating “pent up demand [for space] from enrollment growth and [renovating] stagnated buildings,” according to LCCC’s president, Dr. Joe Schaffer. Pending approval, a request for an additional $22 million in state legislative funds will be asked of Wyoming’s Legislature. If the request is accepted, the final level of planning will be initiated for this segment of the “Building Forward” campaign.

Construction for the flexible industrial technology building could begin in late 2014. Occupancy would be scheduled for 2015. The student services, instruction and university center’s construction could also start in 2014 with a target occupancy date of 2016.

“[The student services, instruction and university center] will give us a new front door,” said Lisa Murphy, associate vice president of institutional advancement. ”It will become a one-stop-shop. This building would put all of [student services] in one location.”

The $30-million, four-story student services, instruction and university center would be the new home of all student services and would include classrooms, space for student activities and community events with a floor dedicated to the University of Wyoming and programs promoting four-year degrees. Plans for this installation call for it to be constructed adjacent to and linked with the current Student Services Building.

“I think [this project] will help in two areas of alleviating the need for space. One is a functional addition,” Schaffer said about the consolidation of student services into one location and the supplemental flexible industrial technology building. ”The second is [the student services, instruction and university center] will create swing space, open space we can use strategically [for transitions].”

Furthermore, a $14-million facility accommodating technical training programs is booked for construction if funding is granted. The flexible industrial technology building will give a new roof to programs servicing the greater Cheyenne area’s call for specialized training. Slated for construction directly east of the current Career and Technical Building the complex will be comprised of labs, classrooms and office space. It will open new doors for the manufacturing, diesel and both large and small engine repair training programs. Space will also be provided for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) courses.

”The industrial tech building will relieve a lot of pressure in both new programs as well as existing programs,” Schaffer stressed.

A portion of this building’s usage may be left as flexible space to meet the increasing demand for skilled and educated workers in Wyoming’s continually shifting job market. Area needed for the wind energy and the recently reincarnated welding programs will also be taken into consideration when designing the layout of this addition.

LCCC employees are discouraged against instructing students to vote yes or no; however the LCCC Foundation is not restricted in its campaigning methods. The foundation is sponsoring a “Vote Yes” campaign promoting voter awareness of the benefits provided in this bond election. Door–to–door walks in Cheyenne neighborhoods are being conducted during the weekends preceding election day. For more information on volunteering and campaign support contact Murphy at 307-778-1110.

Voting registration is available either at the polls on the day of election or between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Laramie County Clerk’s office 309 W. 20th St. A valid, nonexpired Wyoming I D and proof of residence in Laramie County is required for registration. Voters should know registration includes an oath claiming Laramie County as a permanent place of residence.

Should the Nov. 5 special election fail to provide the requested funding, the college plans to formulate a campaign for the 2014 general election.

More information pertaining to the special election and “Building Forward” campaign can be found at lcccbuildingforward.com.


lcccbuildingforward.com