Flexible technology space to provide easily adjustable classroom, lab environments

By Katie Blaser

A new flexible technology building at Laramie County Community College is just one of the many new facilities proposed in the master plan before the college’s trustees.

The flex-tech building will be exactly what its name states: flexible. According to Dr. Miles LaRowe, LCCC’s interim president, this building will accommodate whatever needs are present and any technical programs or certificates in demand. This building will facilitate these programs and courses as needed. Such programs as welding and oil well-head training are expected to be offered in this building.

LCCC Flex-tech building location
Location of the new flexible technology building proposed in the draft of the LCCC master plan is shown. Courtesy.

College to seek private funding for flex-tech construction

At a special business meeting on Aug. 31, the vice chair of the LCCC Board of Trustees, Greg Thomas, said the college could successfully seek private funding for the flex-tech building.

“In my opinion, I think that we can get to where we can get some private funding for that like other schools that I’ve seen, i.e. Western Wyoming College,” Thomas said. He also said that on a recent trip to Williston State College in Williston, N.D., where the oil industry is active, he learned there had been new buildings formulated and built in a year.

Thomas said he felt funding is the biggest barrier the college faces in completing projects on the master plan. Because of this, he said he thought the University of Wyoming outreach center on the LCCC campus should be a top priority and the flex-tech building close also to the top.

“If you don’t know, I work in the real estate business, and one of the things we always take a look at is where’s the low-hanging fruit,” Thomas said. “Something may not be on the list as desired as something else, but it’s something that can be done and start moving forward.”

Thomas also said if the college decides it’s not ready to begin construction on the flex-tech building, the college will still be in a good position because preliminary planning has already begun.

“We may come to the conclusion that our private partners aren’t quite ready to do that and say: ‘OK. Well, it’s two years down the road, but we’ve already at least started moving on it.”

New space allows for dynamically changing learning environments

With walls that will be movable and classrooms that will be interchangeable, this building could offer a great deal of opportunity. LaRowe said depending on demand, the programs and activities that would take place in the building might change every year or even every semester. He also said the flex-tech building is in immediate response to the Niobrara Energy Park being developed north of LCCC. The energy park will go hand-in-hand with the new flex-tech building to provide opportunities to residents and business owners. The Niobrara Industry Park website, www.niobraraindustrialpark.com, explained its mission that they are developing to help companies’ advancement in career fields and to provide the means necessary to grow. According to LaRowe, this is also the ultimate goal for the new flex-tech building.

The final location for this building has not yet been decided, nor has the funding been appropriated, Carol Hoglund, vice president of administration and finance, said.   

Will Hebert contributed to this report.

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