SHERIDAN — With one week until the special election for the 16-year, $15.85 million general issue bond to support expansion and renovation of Sheridan Colleges’ technical education center, supporters of the bond are in crunch time. They have been spotted at farmers markets, putting up yard signs and hammering home their arguments at a variety of gatherings.
Several bond issue supporters, including former Sheridan County School District 1 Superintendent Sue Belish and the college’s new machine tool technology instructor, Sara Spann, were on hand at a Sheridan City Council work session Monday.
The meeting was the final of three work sessions held over the last month to explore in-depth the issues related to the proposed expansion.
“You have in your community the top performing two-year technical training programs in the state of Wyoming, bar none. It’s one of the crown jewels of our campus, and I think you would agree it’s one of the crown jewels of Sheridan and Sheridan County,” Sheridan College President Dr. Paul Young said.
Young reiterated the reasoning that the current technical center is too small and too outdated to provide adequate education for the number of students who are applying for programs in diesel mechanics, welding and machine tool technology. He noted that the tech center expansion is part of the college’s master plan to keep its facilities current and able to meet the needs of the rapidly growing student population.
The technical education center comprises 15 percent of the overall $100 million in improvements needed at Sheridan College, Young said. He also noted that voters have supported community college bond initiatives in the last decade in four Wyoming counties including Laramie, Natrona, Converse and Fremont.
“Right now we have a very, very successful machine tool program, so it’s not so much that we’re going to be changing the program. We’re going to keep the good fundamentals that we have going, and we’re just hoping to really upgrade the program as far as new technologies and new softwares,” Spann said about her plans as a new instructor. “My current experience from industry — working for Garmin — is going to help me bring those practices and update the practices that we’re currently doing right now at the college.”
Mark Kinner, head of the political action committee in support of the Sheridan College bond issue, said supporters will be making appearances at a variety of events — including the chamber luncheon Wednesday, Third Thursday street festival and the farmers market — this week to provide information to anyone who is still curious or undecided as the Aug. 20 election approaches.
Kinner said he is feeling cautiously optimistic about the results of the pending election.
“That’s based on the fact that I think we really have an important task before us,” Kinner said. “As we do get closer, the excitement builds. We’re not trying to take it for granted, but I believe if we can get our supporters to vote, I’m feeling like we should be able to have a successful election.”
The special election will be held Tuesday. All polling places in the county will be open, and the election will operate like a regular election.
For more information about Sheridan College’s tech center expansion and the bond issue, visit www.voteyessctech.com. To schedule a tour of the technical education center, call the Sheridan College president’s office at 674-6446 ext. 2850.