SEEDA to seek additional grant funding for Vacutech expansion

Home|Feature Story, Local News, News|SEEDA to seek additional grant funding for Vacutech expansion

SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority plans to apply for additional funding from the Wyoming Business Council for a planned project in Sheridan’s Hi-Tech Park, Northern Wyoming Community College District President and SEEDA Chair Paul Young said Friday during a special meeting of the SEEDA Joint Powers Board.

The board will seek additional funding for the construction of a 40,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in the Hi-Tech Park, which it intends to lease to Vacutech to accommodate the local company’s growth.

The WBC awarded SEEDA a nearly $3 million grant and a $1.225 million loan for the project in October 2017. According to SEEDA’s grant application for that money, Vacutech expects the expansion would allow it to create 76 jobs over a five-year period.

Since then,Young said SEEDA received bids for the design of proposed facility that exceeded the project’s original budget.

“What’s happened at Vacutech is growth in their business,” Young said. “And these changes — while the footprint of the building is the same — really increase the efficiency of their ability to handle product.”

SEEDA plans to submit a grant application to the WBC for the additional funding needed for the project. To receive that money, the WBC’s Board of Directors would have to recommend approval of the grant and the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board would have to approve the award of that grant.

Though SEEDA has not officially begun the process, Young said he was hopeful the request for additional funding will be approved.

“It’s not a lot of money in the scheme of things and we’re succeeding very well,” Young said.

As the first step in that process the SEEDA board will host a public hearing on the proposed grant application at its next regular meeting.

The board convened for Friday’s special meeting to consider a tenant improvement to Weatherby’s manufacturing facility. Because Weatherby is leasing the facility from SEEDA, the lease requires any renovations or improvements to the building be approved by the SEEDA board. SEEDA Administrator Robert Briggs said Weatherby plans to install a new CNC machine and would need to pour a 12-inch thick concrete base to stabilize the machine; Weatherby will assume the entire cost of the project.

The board unanimously approved Weatherby’s request, with the provision that the company would be responsible for any damage the installation or operation of the machine does to the building.

The SEEDA board has scheduled a public hearing on its plans to pursue a larger grant for the Vacutech project at 3:30 p.m. July 17; the board has a regular meeting scheduled after that hearing, during which it plans to elect new officers and consider SEEDA’s fiscal year 2020 budget.

By |Jul. 8, 2019|

About the Author:

Michael Illiano joined The Sheridan Press as a government and politics reporter in February 2018. He is originally from New Jersey and graduated from Boston University. Email him at michael.illiano@thesheridanpress.com.

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