School Construction Keeps Up, School Student Capacity May Not
Despite the multimillion dollar school construction projects preparing more students, especially at Kelly Walsh High School, the chairman of the Natrona County Board of Trustees raised an uncomfortable question Monday.
Casper is the 11th-fastest growing Metropolitan Statistical Area in the country, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The schools will grow with that, Dave Applegate said at the board's bimonthly meeting.
"I think one of our reactions to that might be, and we maybe we've done this, but to share with the state the fact that we think we're going to have to engage in the expansion of Kelly Walsh," Applegate said. "Have we actually had that discussion with them?"
Dennis Bays, the district's director of business services, responded "many times."
To engage in that discussion would require an appropriation from the Legislature, but that won't happen until next year in preparation for the 2016 session, Bays said. "It will be in our facility plan that we present to the SFD (School Funding Department) in May."
Meanwhile, the construction projects themselves are doing well, especially Kelly Walsh High School, he said.
"We're approaching 25 percent complete with that project," he said.
"Kelly Walsh, all in all, is going well," Bays said. "Some (phases) are behind, but mostly they're ahead of schedule."
Likewise, Natrona County High School is progressing well with the foundation being installed for the first phase, he said.
Roosevelt High School and CAPS is a few week behind, but that has been a result of putting in the foundation, Bays said. Once a foundation is set, other construction can move ahead.
Lincoln Elementary School is approaching 50 percent completion, but it is three to six weeks behind schedule, Bays said. "They will catch up."
Dean Morgan Elementary School is undergoing a $4.5 million renovation, he said. "We're essentially rebuilding that for 50 percent of what a new building would cost."
Planning for a $4 million addition for addition to Bar Nunn Elementary School reached a point to where a request for proposal for design services will be happening soon, Bays said.
The old CY Junior High School site is being evaluated for hazardous materials, he said.
Among the highlights of his report, Bays said:
- KWHS will have a capacity for 1,574 students, for potentially 250 more for KWHS students who may attend CAPS.
- The New gym at Kelly Walsh High Schools will have seating for 2,320 people, with 490 additional seats in the auxiliary gym.
- The KWHS theater will have seating for 542 seats.
- The Natrona County High School gym willl have seating for 1,764 in its gym.
- The NCHS theater will have 837 seats.