Posted at 3 p.m., Dec. 4, 2013

Flex Tech included in governor’s budget

By Ike Fredregill
News Editor

The flexible industrial technologies building received a stamp of approval from Wyoming’s governor in his Dec. 1 budget submitted to the Legislature’s Joint Appropriation Committee (JAC).

The biennium budget proposal Gov. Matt Mead submitted for the February legislative session includes $14.1 million for Laramie County Community College’s “Flex Tech” building project. He also suggested in the budget an “agreement on an amount and a block grant for capital construction at community colleges.”

LCCC President Dr. Joe Schaffer said: “The governor mocks up the biennial budget so he can present it to the JAC…who then put together a slate of recommendations for the Legislature to consider.”

Capital construction projects are renovations, construction, replacements, repairs and improvements of or to any building or facility designed to bring the building or facility to the statewide building adequacy standards, the Wyoming School Facilities Department reported.

After receiving $25 million in community support with the approval of the Nov. 5 bond election, LCCC is now focusing on the acquisition of the $22 million needed in state funding for the construction of the student services, instruction and university center and the flexible industrial technology building.

If the Legislature approves the governor’s budget proposal, the “Building Forward” project would still be shy of its $47 million target by about $8 million.

The next step in “Building Forward” is to secure funding from the state Legislature during its 20-day budget session in February, Schaffer said.

The yes vote for the bond election won 60 percent of votes cast at the close of polls on Tuesday, Nov. 5, providing LCCC with more than 50 percent of the needed $47 million to complete the construction of the two buildings.

To be eligible for state funding from the Wyoming Legislature, a community college must raise at least half the costs through other funding sources.

The current leg of the campaign has received recommendations from the Wyoming Community College Commission, the LCCC Board of Trustees and the State Building Commission (formerly the Capitol Building Commission).

“If the [state] Legislature approves their share of the funding for these projects, we can start finalized planning,” Schaffer said.

Alternatives available if lawmakers reject request

In case the Legislature does not get the chance to review the need for additional funding or if lawmakers turn down the request, Schaffer presented alternative options. The first is to regroup with the community and prioritize which building, if either, would be built. Another option is to review why the request was refused then course correct, presenting it again at the following legislative session.

“Hopefully, by March we’ll know if we have the rest of the funding for these projects,” Schaffer said.

The final planning for the flexible industrial technology building is scheduled to be completed, as stated by the LCCC “Building Forward” master plan, before the start of the 2014 spring semester. If authorized by legislation, construction could start as soon as next summer and with occupancy by the fall semester 2015.

“The target I’m hoping for is breaking ground [on the flexible industrial technology building] by late summer or early fall although I’m told I am overly optimistic,” Schaffer said.

The student services, instruction and university center will begin its final phase of planning early next summer if further funding is approved by the Legislature, Schaffer said. He conveyed hopes of beginning construction by winter 2014, with occupancy starting as early as spring 2016.

Student flow and access to campus have been considered during the building phase, and construction is planned to take place in phases to minimize the impact on students’ studies, Schaffer noted.

The “Building Forward” plan’s ambition for campus growth does not stop with the addition of two new buildings.

The fine and performing arts building is already through its first level planning and will be reviewed before the first of the new year, Schaffer said.

“The campus facelift is a smattering of things in the works, like wayfinding and gateways,” Schaffer explained about several small projects planned around campus.

A steering committee for review of the plans, modeling and revenue sources needed for a future residence hall will be assembled in spring 2014, Schaffer said.

An addition to the Albany County Campus at the University of Wyoming is in the near future, according to the LCCC master plan, although Schaffer related UW was the one steering that process.

Complete unofficial results
by precinct

Will voters Build Forward?

Laramie County Clerk results

Voters pass bond issue

Welding Training Area Addition: Feasibility Study

Request form for pilot welding program

Employment projections

Letters regarding Flex-Tech building, programs

January 2013 Administration defends fast-tracking welding program

January 2013: 2,000 square feet to be added to career tech

December 2012: Need for welding sparks plans to jump-start program