SHERIDAN — Sheridan College officials plan to proceed with the organization’s next building project, despite waiting on the rest of the funds to arrive.
At last week’s Northern Wyoming Community College District Board meeting, President Dr. Paul Young and board members discussed the future of the SC Tech Center expansion and renovation project.
Whitney Benefits has contributed $6 million for the project and $500,000 will be raised in house.
The college also expects to receive $6.5 million in funding from the state via the Abandoned Mine Land Fund.
While the college has the contribution from Whitney Benefits and its own funds in hand, the state has yet to chip in its portion for the project.
This puts the college in a pickle, but Young said this won’t stop the college from moving forward on the project to save costs.
“The sooner you go out to bid, you get better pricing,” Young said. “If you wait too long, and everyone is busy with work, guess what happens? Your prices go up. So we are wrestling with this whole issue on how we can get out to bid when we don’t have all the money in hand.”
The college will look for ways to start the project without taking on risks. Officials plan to advertise portions of the project for bid for what Young called “the very basic work” on the building.
The approval of the AML funds for the college were approved by the Legislature last year. However, the college will only receive those funds as they are made available and filtered back to the state from the federal government.
Trustee Robert Leibrich noted that legislation allows construction on the tech center project to begin as long as the college has money in hand.
Young still expects the AML funding to arrive.
“We would never issue a contract that we didn’t have money for,” Young said. “So we are in this gray area where we want to get started.”
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.
Completing the project has long been a goal for many Sheridan College board members and officials.
“I believe in this community, (technology trades) are what we need,” NWCCD Trustee Gary Koltiska said.
“It’s an urgent project for us, as far as it is concerned with capacity,” Young said. “Of all the things we have going on campus, probably the most important and essential work we have going on is this facility work.”