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CWC busy with summer construction
This summer is all about construction at Central Wyoming College.
And with construction comes disruptions which affect students, staff and community users of college facilities.
CWC condensed both the spring and fall semesters to accommodate an aggressive remodeling project in the college’s main classroom facility, which began May 2. The college is also conducting an energy retrofit of exterior lighting and preparing to build a Health and Science Center the following spring.
The construction in the Classroom Wing is limiting community use of college facilities this summer because available space is being used for classes.
“It’s a really busy summer on top of this major construction,” said Jay Nielson, executive vice president for Administrative Services. The college had previously agreed to host several major conferences and meetings, including the Governor’s Summit on Workforce Solutions, the Wyoming Distance Education Consortium and the usual athletic camps.
“The support staff typically available for events and facility maintenance will be extremely busy because of this very aggressive schedule,” Nielson said.
The Classroom Wing remodel project includes a near complete remodel of the space, including five science labs, and re-roofing the facility. Asbestos was found under the carpet in the building as well as in sheetrock mud. The abatement of the asbestos has complicated the schedule, yet Nielson said the college is holding to the August 18 completion date so that furniture and equipment can be moved in time for the fall semester.
It’s taken a Herculean effort by college staff to get these projects completed within a small window, he said. At the close of the spring semester, faculty, staff and student volunteers moved furniture, lab, instructional and technology equipment out of the building to give contractors, Sletten Construction of Wyoming, the window needed to complete the project.
“It’s a real college and community effort to vacate the building and be prepared to move back in,” Nielson said.
The majority of the remodel funds, $1.65 million, comes from the funds awarded to the state through the American Recover and Reinvestment Act. The rest of the project is being funded by college resources. The federal money was limited to academic projects only, and by taking the award, CWC did not receive any major maintenance funds from the state for projects that can’t be directly tied to instruction.
By accepting the federal stimulus funds, the college is required to do extensive reporting and compliance. The compliance regulations complicate the process as contractors and subcontractors must certify that every screw, nail, piece of sheetrock and tile is made in America.
“They have shut down projects because caulking was made in Canada,” Nielson gave as an example.
CWC also received stimulus funds from the Wyoming Business Council to replace exterior lighting with an energy efficient system. “This will provide more consistent lighting that will enhance the look of the campus,” he explained. This project also includes energy-saving interior lighting and HVAC improvements.
On Sept. 16, the college intends to host a dedication ceremony for the public to see the completed remodel as well as to examine the college’s entryway and energy retrofit projects.
While the construction projects are underway, college staff is doing the planning and programming for the Health and Science Center, the new facility that is expected to open in the fall of 2013. The location of the new building has yet to be established, and the community has been invited to give input to the architects. The site for the facility also sets the direction for the college’s master planning updates.
“Our objective is a thorough review of the issues and complications surrounding each possible location,” Nielson explained.