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Construction on new elementary school in Ranchester to begin

RANCHESTER — Construction on the new elementary school in Ranchester can now officially begin after Sheridan County School District 1 received approval from Ranchester Town Council Tuesday for a special permit that will allow Town Engineer Chris Johnson to issue a building permit for the building.

SCSD 1 Business Manager Jeremy Smith said construction will begin in mid-June, and the school is expected to be open for the 2015-2016 school year.

Approval of the special permit hinged on nine conditions given to the school district by Johnson. Ben Reeves, an architect with Dale Buckingham Architects who was hired by the school district, updated the council on progress of those conditions.

Many of the conditions involve working with other entities like Montana-Dakota Utilities, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the developer of nearby Spirit Ridge and Stone Ridge subdivisions to ensure roads, turn lanes, sidewalks, water and sewer lines and electrical transmission lines be located in safe, beneficial locations.

Related to the new school, the council voted to table a vote on what the speed limit should be on U.S. Highway 14 as it runs past school property. Smith requested the entire stretch be set at 30 mph.

“The slower the traffic in that area, the better off we all are, we believe,” Smith said.

Councilor Randy Sundquist suggested using flashing lights to set the limit at 30 mph during school hours and 40 mph on evenings, weekends and in the summer.

In other business, the council passed an ordinance on second reading that will allow residents to irrigate by permit out of the Tongue River Ditch with the town of Ranchester’s municipal water rights in the ditch.

Property owners must border the ditch and will be limited by pump size per lot. Only one electric pump will be allowed per lot and irrigations systems can be sized no larger than 20 GPM. Pump specifications and system plan must be submitted to the town for permit approval.

The ordinance will require one more reading to be final at the June 3 council meeting.

The board also passed, on first reading, three amendments to zoning code. One will require that planned unit development site plans comply with code standards. The other two eliminated the Board of Adjustments from the code and assigned BOA functions to the planning commission and Town Council.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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