SHERIDAN — The Northern Wyoming Community College District Board of Trustees heard from NWCCD President Dr. Paul Young and Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Heath on potential facilities renovations and upgrades planned for Sheridan College.
Although a bond proposal for a new technology facility was defeated in an election last fall, Young said $1 million has been raised locally to proceed with some renovations to the current building.
Plans include renovating the welding and machinery areas, adding 1,200-square-feet of storage for the diesel mechanics program and renovating 1,500-square-feet for construction technology.
The renovations are expected to begin after spring graduation and be completed by the time students return for the fall semester.
In addition, Young and Heath suggested that some priorities identified in the master plan which was adopted in 2010, be changed in priority. Specifically, they identified renovations to the agriculture and science center, the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome and significant expansion and renovation of the fine arts and music section of the college that is located in the north wing of the Edward A. Whitney building.
Several students and community users of the fine arts and athletic facilities spoke in favor of the proposals and the need for additional space and facilities for various programs.
“We remain committed to providing the best learning experience for our students,” Young said. “We recognize that expanding and improving our physical space is an important component of student success. This is the next phase in our master planning process.”
The board will review the proposal and take action at their April meeting. The college’s master plan has to be reviewed, updated and reported to the Wyoming Community College Commission every five years as required by state statute. Since the board is considering changes in priorities outlined in the report, a formal acceptance of the change must be made.
The board also heard updates from math instructor Jay Araas and English instructor Dr. Jane Wohl about changes being made to the academic programs.
Araas noted that math instructors are seeking to move students up to college level math courses quicker, with an emphasis on reducing the number of students in remedial math courses and reducing the number of remedial classes they may have to take.
“We are trying to get more of the students up to college level quicker,” Araas said. “We’re trying some new innovative things.”
Instructors are using a variety of methods including looking at high school grade point average, rather than just ACT or COMPASS exam scores for deciding placement in classes. Additionally, math centers on the Sheridan and Gillette campuses have been expanded to provide help for students.
Wohl said the English department is also trying to further engage students with reading and writing. To that end, a writing center is continuing to provide extra help to students during the week and an interdisciplinary course has been introduced this year that has attracted students who may have otherwise struggled to engage with the English curriculum.
“Our writing center is exemplary,” Wohl said. “Students are in there all the time. People are always coming in and asking for help writing and reading.”
The board also heard updates from Young and trustees who recently attended the National Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C., the Wyoming Association of Community Colleges Conference in Cheyenne and the Wyoming Community College Commission meeting at Laramie County Community College.