Laramie County Community College is entering a bond election in November that will help fund additions that are part of the 10-year plan for the college’s facilities projects.
The projects include renovations of the Fine Arts building, construction of a performance hall, renovations and expansion of the Recreation and Athletic Complex and a 350-bed residence hall.
These are part of the “Building Forward” facilities plan that was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2012.
The $29.8 million bond will help to achieve the Strategic Plan the college had made a goal to finish by 2020. These last three building projects are the final parts to the Strategic Plan.
“By putting the projects on the ballot now, that will help us to reach the goals that the college set out to achieve,” said Lisa Trimble, Interim Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement. “The longer we wait to put the information out there for the opportunity for community support, the longer we push out the end result of these buildings.”
For the Board to place an item on the ballot, the Board of Trustees must pass a resolution calling for an election. Then they must state the questions that should be on the ballot and what the purpose is of that specific question.
“If the resolution is passed, it has to be communicated to the County Clerk’s office by a specific date, which in this case was August 28,” Schaffer said.
There was conversation about holding a special election in spring 2018, “however, given the already elongated timeframe for these projects to finish planning, go into construction and to be completed, I believe people felt a date sooner would be best,” President Dr. Joe Schaffer said.
If the college would have waited for the spring election, it would have pushed the planning and date for completion back.
“Also, the amount of capital construction being requested from other institutions is a much smaller amount than what has been requested in the past,” Trimble said. “We aren’t competing quite as much for state funding.”
The Fine Arts building has not been renovated since 1981 and LCCC is the only college in Wyoming that does not have an auditorium space for performances. The estimate for the tax impact that will go towards the Fine Arts renovation and expansion is 37.5 cents per month per $100,000 of a home’s value.
The RAC is 44 years old and continues to be the most used building on campus. The estimated tax impact that will go toward the RAC project is 69 cents per month per $100,000 of a home’s value.
The Residence Hall’s capacity is 276 students and 598 students showed interest in living on campus. Not only does living on campus help you meet new people, but it also helps students stay in school and continue on to graduate.
The tax impact estimate that will go towards new student housing on campus is 43.5 cents per month per $100,000 of a home’s value.
“We are at the point that we have facilities that have needs,” Trimble said.
The college has begun informing the community about the projects and the need of the additions to the college, not only to enhance the learning, but to also bring students to LCCC.
There is a steering committee that is going to help engage the community into this project and help voters understand the need of these projects. The steering committee along with President Dr. Joe Schaffer will have presentations to groups in the community to advocate for the bond election.
A letter has gone out to voters from the Board Chair, Carol Merrell, and President Dr. Joe Schaffer to educate the community on what to expect on the poll in November.
There will also be a comprehensive building update newsletter and FAQ mailed out to all the postal customers in Laramie County. In addition, there will be a website that will explain the projects and needs of the additions to the college.
LCCC is working on having an informational table at the local farmer’s market to educate people on the bond election. There will also be yard signs available for the election.
“It’s not just about the campus, really it’s about the community and the state,” Trimble said.
As far as if voters do not vote for this bond, “this isn’t something we are focusing on or believe will happen,” Schaffer said. “We truly believe the community supports LCCC and understands the importance of our impact on the economy and the community.”