SHERIDAN — The Alternative School Planning Study that Sheridan County School District 2 compiled for the Wyoming School Facilities Commission has been completed and approved, recommending that the district explore building a collaborative alternative high school on or near the Sheridan College campus.

Recently the district received funds from the SFC to evaluate and determine the needs of the district’s alternative schools. Previously, Fort Mackenzie High School and the Wright Place Junior High School have not been on any of the state’s priority lists for capacity or needs because they were housed on the junior high campus and included in the junior high numbers. The district has been requesting they be prioritized for the past several years and this year the state recognized it as a viable need and funded the study.

With the study, there are some key elements requiring review including an enrollment projection number, a look at the capacities of other secondary schools in the district and a review of viable solutions.

Using the cohort formula provided by the SFC, SCSD2 facilities director Julie Carroll determined that a grade 6-12 alternative school in SCSD2 would house 156 students; therefore neither the high school nor the junior high have the capacity to house a school within a school.

Viable solutions the district explored for housing the new alternative school included the old Highland Park Elementary School site, the old Woodland Park Elementary School back acreage and a co-located site within Sheridan College.

A collaborative steering committee reviewing the need for alternative schools in each of the Sheridan County school districts and the Johnson County School District has been meeting recently as well. Carroll said they have been examining things like vision, mission, values, goals, instructional models, student support systems and student outcomes trying to determine how to capture more students who don’t do as well in a mainstream education system. However, steering committee meetings have yet to be open to the public and requests for information regarding their discussions and progress have resulted in limited feedback.

“It’s kind of coincidental that the board had put this committee together about a year ago,” Carroll said. “But basically it has flowed handily right in with this (SFC) report, so a lot of the information had already been gathered.”

The SCSD2 board of trustees unanimously approved the SFC report as presented by Carroll and will move forward pursuing a site on or near the Sheridan College campus.

During the regular meeting of the Northern Wyoming Community College District board of trustees Thursday at Sheridan College, a recommendation will be voted upon authorizing the college administration to enter into a long-term ground lease with SCSD2 for the purpose of building an alternative high school on property owned by Sheridan College.

The school will also be included in the district’s five-year facilities plan update.

Other funding requests included in the facilities plan will include funds for the transportation department, funds for Sagebrush Elementary School, component level funding and additional necessary repairs to Sheridan High School.

In other business:

  • a Gollings Endowment Fund will be established after unanimous approval by the board, using $1,237,500 of the $3,237,500 paid to them in the sale of the 10 Gollings paintings previously owned by the district. The board will determine at a later date how the interest on the fund will be distributed, but the principal allocated to the fund shall remain intact and not distributed unless required by law.
  • a ground breaking ceremony will be held at Sheridan High School for the new sports facility project on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Students and several of the major donors will provide an overview of the project, a shovel ceremony and a celebration. All members of the community are invited to attend the event. Organizers of the project are hoping to wrap up the locker sales portion of project fundraising at Thursday’s event. Currently, 257 of the 400 lockers have been sold.