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SPET: $10M for Central Wyoming College's Jackson Campus

SPET: $10M for Central Wyoming College’s Jackson Campus

A rendering of the proposed Jackson Campus

Courtesy of Jackson Hole News & Guide

Central Wyoming College is requesting $10 million in specific purpose excise tax money to finish funding a 21,000-square-foot building on its own Jackson campus.

The campus price tag is about $20 million.

Sen. Mike Gierau and Rep. Andy Schwartz secured $10.3 million from the state Strategic Investments and Projects account earlier this year. CWC now leases space from the Center for the Arts in Jackson and has been working toward building a permanent Jackson campus for almost a decade.

CWC won a SPET election in 2017 that provided $3.82 million in tax money to buy a building site on Veronica Lane in West Jackson that ultimately was deemed too small with too little parking for a community college campus. They sold that site after finding a more suitable location in South Park.

The campus along High School Road just west of Jackson Hole High School was sketched by Denver designers Anderson Mason Dale Architects.

Central Wyoming has applied for $12 million through the American Rescue Plan, also known as the COVID-19 stimulus package.

If CWC secures the $12.4 million federal grant, SPET funding would still be needed to complete the Jackson campus, college President Brad Tyndall said, due to state requirements for local funding.

Community colleges in Wyoming differ from universities in their funding models, Tyndall said. Bound by the rules of the Community College Commission and state construction commission, CWC can secure half its funding through the state. The other half must come through local funding.

This summer Teton County commissioners approved placing the CWC project on the SPET ballot.

SPET is an optional, voter-approved 1% sales tax paid by visitors and residents on most goods and services. In the county’s words, “the funds allow local government and public entities to construct community facilities, infrastructure or amenities that would otherwise require other sources of revenue such as bonds or increased property tax.”

The space will provide space for nursing and culinary programs. Tyndall said that having their own water and gas sources will also allow for more sophisticated science labs.

Tyndall said the plans for the building were awarded to the Denver architecture firm after extensive committee meetings with state officials.

CWC hopes to build on 2 acres of land just off High School Road. The purchase of the ground from Leeks Canyon Ranch LLC, through which Elizabeth and Kelly Lockhart run the Lockhart Cattle Company ranch, needs a zone change from suburban zoning to public-semi-public through Teton County.