Posted at 3 p.m. Sept 23, 2015

Additional funds sought for campus construction

In the last several months, Laramie County Community College has launched two major construction projects that, so far, are on time and in budget, campus officials said.

“Construction is going very smoothly thus far,” President Dr. Joe Schaffer said about the Flex-Tech and Student Services and University Center buildings. Assistant to the Vice President Carol Hoglund agrees, saying that the projects have “not been concerning at all.” The only concern currently is a series of alternate bids that the Board of Trustees is trying to find additional funds for.

The bids are for additional projects that LCCC has asked the contractors to do as part of the building projects. The purpose is to make campus ready for future expansion and possibly to better serve the programs and students. These bids include additional parking and improvements to the frontage road, on the east side of campus. There had been many concerns about the road especially during the winter, Hoglund said.

“What we are discussing in regard to alternates are actually intended to help us advance our programs sooner than expected,” Schaffer said.

The board sought additional funds through a grant from the Wyoming Business Council but later withdrew the application after receiving “do not fund” recommendations from the WBC staff.

At the beginning of the project, there was a rise in construction cost per square foot for the buildings, but at this point Schaffer said there are no cost overruns. The board is deciding what else it can afford to do now. “It is the additional (bids) that will push the budget envelope,” Schaffer said.

At this point, the board won’t pursue the alternate projects unless construction costs come down, savings can be found in other areas, or if the funds can be raised through private donations. It’s all or nothing, but Schaffer is hopeful that “we will be able to fund them all.”

In the last week of September and the first two weeks of October, the Student Center and University Services building will precast its preliminary basement plans and complete other installations that will bring it closer to becoming home to departments like Admissions, LCCC Bookstore, Student Records, Financial Aid, Counseling & Campus Wellness, Disability Services, Advising and Career Services and University of Wyoming Outreach. The hope is to provide classroom, office and assembly space by the anticipated completion date of spring 2017.

The Flex-Tech building had additional indoor structuring put in during the last week of September and will continue to add outdoor structuring and roofing in the first weeks of October. The building will house diesel technology, engineering technology, an expanded welding fabrication program, construction management and process technology by the anticipated completion date of fall 2016.

Hoglund said she is hopeful that once the Flex-Tech building is completed for fall 2016 that there will be shorter walks in the elements for students. “Parking is what it is, and winter is going to make it difficult,” Hoglund said.

In the coming months, updates and more information about the construction projects will arrive weekly on the LCCC website and around the college campus.