SHERIDAN — Sheridan College will host an open house Friday for the Edward A. Whitney Academic Center.
The open house will run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the new facility and partake of food and drink specials at the Big Horn Café.
The recently completed building features a dozen new classrooms, an expanded math lab and a student welcome center. It also includes several new office spaces for instructors and a state-of-the-art tiered classroom that can accommodate 70 people and will be available for teaching and for public lectures and events. The room features two large screens, a whiteboard, tables and chairs that swivel to allow for conversation and exchange amongst students.
“The building was created to enhance our academic space for science, technology, engineering and math,” Sheridan College Marketing and Public Information Director Wendy Smith said. “That is the purpose of the building and so therefore it supports our programs that includes engineering, GIS and computer-aided graphing, surveying, physics, math and engineering technology.”
In addition, the main hall is now the permanent home of “Caesar,” an allosaurus dinosaur discovered and excavated by Sheridan College students and faculty.
The building is a combination of 35,000 square feet of new construction and 18,000 square feet of renovated space. The $15 million building has been a work in progress since March 2012 and was finished in time to welcome students at the beginning of the new 2013-2014 school year.
Half of the funding for the building, $7.5 million, was provided by the Wyoming Legislature and $7.6 million was provided as a match by the local nonprofit Whitney Benefits.
Approximately 80 percent of the work on the building was done by Wyoming contractors, with 60 percent being done specifically by Sheridan-area contractors.
“The space is great and is already busy all the time,” Sheridan College Student Body President Trapper Rieniets saud. “This building is the result of many, many hours of hard work by hundreds of people. I am proud to be a part of Sheridan College, and hope everyone has a chance to see and enjoy this new space.”
“We are seeing a lot of excitement and interest and creative ideas of how to use the space and what to do with it,” Smith added. “That is from the community and the student body and staff.”
Smith said one unique new student use of the building was put forward by jazz musicians at the school. They have decided to use the atrium area on Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. to rehearse their music, allowing everyone in the area to enjoy it.
SC students are not the only ones benefiting from the new facility. The building is available for community events and has already been host to the recent Sheridan County Republican Party’s Reagan Day Dinner and the third annual Wyoming Biotech Conference.