When the 2013 fall semester begins, almost the entire Central Wyoming College campus will have been transformed.
In addition to the newly constructed 52,000-square-foot Health and Science Center opening this fall, several other construction projects are planned. The college is also anticipating a couple of projects in Lander, too.
Taking advantage of having multiple contractors working on campus, CWC Physical Plant Director Wayne Robinson has planned major maintenance as well as numerous remodeling projects simultaneously.
With state capital construction funds in hand, the college is remodeling the Professional-Technical Center to provide space for CWC’s automotive technology and welding programs and instructional facilities for several new programs developed by the college’s Workforce and Community Education Department that previously had no dedicated space.
Originally constructed in the early 1970s, the Pro-Tech Center was intended to house applied programs in the vocational arts. With rapid enrollment growth, CWC had limited classroom and lab space, and eventually nursing took over a good portion of the south end of the Pro-Tech Center.
Nursing now has a new home in the Health and Science Center, and as soon as the department is able to move this summer, the remodeling begins. The state is covering 85 percent of the building costs.
Automotive Technology Professor Dudley Cole is particularly excited to have additional space. “Our lab space will almost double,” he said, “and the additional garage doors will allow much more efficient use of the lab.”
Cole describes his program as “vibrant and enthusiastic,” with as many of 30 current students who have passed the required qualifications to work in the lab. The present workshop has room for seven-to-eight vehicles. There are only three lifts for students to use for their projects and learning exercises, leaving many students waiting for shop space. After the remodel, there will be four new automotive bays and two additional lifts.
The auto department’s lack of storage is also being addressed. “Our current lab has very little storage space for the necessary tools we have to use to teach automotive,” Cole said, explaining that now he has tools stored in an assortment of sheds and containers and “jumbled up in various areas in the auto lab.” The addition makes it possible to keep all necessary tools in one convenient location.
After the remodel, students will have access to computers adjacent to their work areas, which Cole said will minimize the “bottleneck” that students experience in the current lab.
The popular power sports program, where students learn to work on all-terrain vehicles, snow machines and motorcycles, will have a better and safer learning environment, he said. Cole will also be able to make upgrades to the program using new computer technologies and instruction in repairing hybrid vehicles.
The CWC welding program is getting more instructional and lab space, too. “The remodel will allow me to teach a pipe and steel fabrication course,” instructor Darryl Steeds said. He also may begin teaching fabrication on a larger scale, making his students more competitive in the job market.
With the additional room, he can expand metallurgy and welding inspection technology instruction, and students will have access to more welding fabrication tables and welding bays.
The welding program at CWC has been limited in size by its facilities. “That will change drastically with the new expansion,” he predicts.
The capital construction funds granted by the 2012 Wyoming Legislature is also being used to remodel space in the Classroom Wing of Main Hall. While that building got a face lift in 2011 when economic stimulus funds were made available, there was not enough money to complete the project.
A majority of the science labs in that building move into the Health and Science Center, and that space will be converted to classrooms.
Also scheduled for a “modest” summer remodel is the CWC Food Court. The project will address infrastructure issues with plumbing and refrigeration units. The dishwasher space that divides the kitchen from the dining area will be moved closer to the kitchen, giving the Food Court more open space.
Additional seating will be provided at a bar-top type table where the dishwasher once stood, and the salad bar will be moved into the center of the kitchen. A few walls will be removed to provide better site lines between the Food Court staff and customers.
“We are trying to be as frugal as possible to make dollars stretch as much as we can,” said Robinson. With state major maintenance funds, the college already replaced the roof on the Student Center this past winter.
Utilizing revenue bonds, the college is also considering the remodel of student apartments on campus, and later the construction of a new student housing unit on campus and a 24-bed facility at the Sinks Canyon Center.
The Wyoming Legislature also granted capital construction funds for academic space for CWC in Lander. The college is currently looking at land to build a new facility because its current downtown center has no room for expansion and suffers from a lack of parking.