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NWC leaders mulling building questions, maintenance issues

With a fifth-penny tax proposal going before Park County voters in November, NWC leaders fear there may be little chance that voters will approve an additional tax to pay the local match for a new building at Northwest College.

With that in mind, college administrators and planners are hoping to find ways to build the facility without asking taxpayers to foot the bill for the local match.

“We’ve had quite a few discussions as we try to decide what would be the best way to pay for that building,” said NWC President Paul Prestwich. “We’ve discussed lots of options, and we’re hopeful that we can develop a plan that enables us to build the building with as little debts as possible.”

The Wyoming Legislature in March approved $9.38 million in state funding for the college to build the planned Yellowstone Academic Workforce Training Building, leaving the college to raise another $4.9 million for the capital construction project.

“We’re very pleased to have money from the Legislature,” Prestwich said, “but with the possibility of budget cuts, it makes it perhaps more challenging to accomplish it. But we have some ideas in mind that will be a positive way for us to come up with money for the new building.”

Design of the building will begin soon, paid for by $1.06 million in state funding. The Wyoming Department of Administration and Information put out ads for architects to design the building, and college administrators will select the architect, said Kim Mills, NWC vice president for administrative services.

That is expected to happen around the end of June, Mills said.

As envisioned, Prestwich said, the Yellowstone Academic Workforce Training Building would address several needs on campus. It would allow most, if not all, of the classes now held in the Orendorff Building to move to the new building.

That, in turn, would allow all student services offices to move into the Orendorff Building, freeing up needed space in other facilities.

Those could include the student housing office, now located in the DeWitt Student Center, as well as Student Success Center offices now located in Colter Hall, Prestwich said.

It will be a few weeks before college leaders are ready to make a formal recommendation to the NWC Board of Trustees on how to raise the local match, Prestwich said.

The Northwest College Foundation Board is considering ways it could help raise the needed money, said Foundation Director Shelby Wetzel.

“We are still in the early planning stages,” Wetzel said. “Both our Executive and Major/Planned Giving committees will meet this month as we work to fine tune campaign ideas, options.  Whatever ideas we generate will then go to the full board at our July meeting.”

Meanwhile, the Northwest College Board of Trustees last month approved several projects to be paid for by major maintenance funding.

Those are:

• Build a wheelchair-accessible ramp for the basement of the Frisby Building at a cost not to exceed $110,000.

Kim Mills, NWC vice president for administrative services, said a ramp is less expensive than putting an elevator in the building. Besides the additional cost, an elevator would require additional space inside the building now taken up by two offices.

• Purchase and install an emergency generator for campus computer and communications systems, not to exceed $75,000.

Mills said the generator would maintain communications and support computer operations during an emergency.

• Improvements in the heating and air conditioning system in the DeWitt Student Center, not to exceed $180,000.

Mills said the project would replace 55-year-old heat pumps and install new controls to make the system more efficient and improve the environment in the building.

It would not replace windows in the building; that will have to wait for another project, he said.

“On boilers and controls, you save about 8-10 percent (in energy costs),” he said, “on windows, about 4 percent.

“We do have windows on our list, but we felt this was a higher priority.”

• Replace kitchen hoods in the DeWitt Student Center kitchen for a cost not to exceed $140,000.

However, that project has been put on hold because the single bid received was 35 percent higher than the engineering estimate, according to Mills’ report to the NWC board for its meeting Monday.

• Repairs to bathrooms and the water system at the Lewis and Clark Hall and Colter Hall, not to exceed $325,000. Money for that project will come from the auxiliary depreciation fund.

However, no contractors were interested in bidding the entire project; they will do part of the work in Colter Hall. The college still is looking for a contractor to do the rest of the project, Mills said.

Trustee Rick LaPlante questioned using money for some of those projects when it is needed elsewhere. But Mills said major maintenance funding is a separate pool of state funding designated for maintenance projects. It cannot be used for other purposes, he said.

1 comment

  • posted by tony shosten

    June 13, 2012 6:17 pm

    What?? So there going to spend over a million dollars to design a building they might not build? How stupid is that?

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