SHERIDAN — Construction on the Sheridan College Tech Center expansion project may begin as soon as this spring. 

At the December Northern Wyoming Community College District board of trustees meeting, Trustee Walter Wragge updated the board on the status of the expansion of the Sheridan College Tech Center.

The designs for the building, which will come in two phases, will be finalized by Feb. 13 and March 31. 

If all goes according to plan, construction on the project will begin by spring of 2017 and be completed by August 2018, Wragge said. 

CTA Architects designed the building, and Dick Anderson Construction will be doing the work on the project. Both firms have worked on projects at the college before. 

The project includes a complete remodel of existing space and approximately 22,000 square feet of new space for technical programs, including machine tool technology, diesel technology, welding technology and construction technology.

The facility will feature brand new teaching spaces for all technology programs. It will also create updated space for an electronics lab, a components lab, several tooling facilities, create new and expanded space for the diesel and welding labs and expanded construction classroom and lab space. 

According to Sheridan College Facilities Director Kent Andersen, the center will be the centerpiece of Sheridan College’s new South Mall next to two parking lots and next to the Thorne-Rider Campus Center. The addition will also add a new entrance on the west side of the building.

The building plans had been designed with the help and input of faculty, according to NWCCD President Dr. Paul Young. 

One of the features Wragge found most interesting is the expansion of the construction building. He said the building allows for students to build a modular house inside the actual building, providing a more hands-on approach for learning. 

“We want our students to learn the trades through an actual modular construction of the house,” Wragge said.

Trustee Norleen Healy noted that the building expansion allows for more students. 

Newly-elected trustee Gary Koltiska, who made technology and trade skills enhancement a major part of his recent campaign, said he is pleased the college is taking steps toward improving the program.

“I believe in this community, (technology trades) are what we need,” Koltiska said.

Andersen said the new building will also provide more safety features for students. 

“This will increase the number of students we can teach in these programs as well as give them state of the art space to learn in,” Andersen said. “When you have students utilizing big and or sensitive equipment, safety is always number one. Having the opportunity to update space with better ventilation, more room to move material and equipment around and the chance to incorporate even more technology will have huge positive impacts on our programs.”

“The Tech Center project has been our top priority for some time now, and I am pleased to see it moving forward,” he added. 

Whitney Benefits has contributed $6.5 million and the college also expects to receive $6.5 million in funding from the state via the Abandoned Mine Land Fund.