SC expansion merits support

Nobody asked me, but……

(An old Jimmy Cannon ellipsis journalism line. Cannon (1909-1975) was a sportswriter for three New York newspapers.)

• I had forgotten how easy it was for early voting. Maybe five minutes is all that it took. (Voting is also therapeutic; it makes you feel good.)

• When the Tucker family relocated Vacutech from Colorado a couple of years ago, CEO John Tucker made it clear: Sheridan was a destination for his economic expansion because of the work ethic of Sheridan people and access to trained personnel from Sheridan College. Then, it was a few employees; today, it is more than 60. They engineer custom vacuum systems from car washes to hospitals and beyond.

• The “big bang” of economic relocation for most parts of the country is pretty much done. Factories packing up and moving elsewhere because of a better deal on labor, land, infrastructure rarely occurs now like it used to. Today, the focus is often on smaller industries developing and expansion of existing business. City leaders — unelected and elected — are shrewd in embracing Sheridan College as an economic “driver” which lifts the entire county. SC has a $25 million annual budget. It employs more than 400 people, full and part time, an annual payroll of more than $13 million. It attracts students from outside the area. These students spend about $4 million annually here. Some 70 percent of the college’s operating expenses — more than $23 million annually — is spent in Sheridan County. It is one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the U.S.

• All in all, Sheridan College is unlike any community college I’ve seen. There’s a lot of wow. There are six campuses — including one in the mountains, one for culinary development. You can take a course on Plato, learn how to service a diesel engine or learn a trade, or get a background in academics for transfer to a larger university. You can sit and watch college basketball, attend arts and music festivals, stroll among American flags that honor local citizens, even attend community events that celebrate local politics or have an event that is geared for women’s leadership. Amazing, comes to mind.

• The future’s bright as well. The WYO Performing Arts and Education Center, affiliated with Sheridan College, is under construction now. Soon, ground will be turned in the college’s large animal science facility, which means more diversity in its curriculum. In the years to come, the agriculture center, the science center and the Wyoming Culinary Institute will grow, expand, renovate. What’s ahead is illustrative of change, vision and commitment to education and the greater Sheridan community.

Today, it’s about the Tech Center, and it’s worth supporting.

 

••••••

 

Quotable

 

“There is a place in America to take a stand; it is public education. It is the understanding of our cultural and political system. It is the great common ground. Public education after all is the engine that moves us as a society toward a common destiny…It is in public education that the American Dream begins to take shape.”

 

— Tom Brokaw, broadcast journalist/author

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