Natrona County School Board Seeks Go Ahead On High School Construction [AUDIO]
Getting the three high school construction projects in Natrona County back up and running is the hoped for result of a meeting set for Thursday between the local school board and the state School Facilities Commission. But coming to an agreement on the details stands in the way of that progress.
Construction of three high school projects for Natrona County have been on hold since July when the Wyoming Schools Facilities Department director called for additional study of the most cost effective approach to their construction.
$375 thousand dollars later the results of that additional study- a repeat of studies done previously- concur with the scenario already favored by Natrona County School District Board.
"There recommendation that came out of their work is to do scenario 2a which was the simultaneous construction of all three projects. As soon as the design is finished we would start the CAPS Roosevelt Center, we would start Kelly Walsh, we would start Natrona County High School all on the same basic timeline."
Natrona County Superintendent Joel Dvorak says they expect the SFC director on Thursday to recommend a different scenario. Scenario 2b calls for a staggered construction. The plan would have the renovation and rebuild at NCHS start about a year and half later with students moved off campus to the old Kelly Walsh High School site during the process. Dvorak says the off campus move isn't necessary.
"We think that our contractors have laid great ground work and some preliminary work with us that indicates we can keep the students on the Natrona County High School Campus and the Kelly Walsh High School campus during the construction."
Dvorak and the board believe keeping students on campus makes the simultaneous construction scenario do-able.
A second element at issue is how big to build. The current intention is to build to a five year enrollment projection of 3600. The NC board says that doesn't make sense. "We think its in the best interest to use the enrollment number of 4100 9th through 12th graders."
Thats a projection for the year 2020 while 3600 is for five years out. Dvorak and the school board believe that that student population number may already be surpassed by the time construction is complete.
Dvorak says,ultimately the decision lies with the commission who will forward a recommendation to the Governor who would then include construction costs in his preliminary budget out December 1st.