TCSD takes step toward new school

July 29, 2018

Teton County School District No. 1 sailed through another step in the process to address overcrowding with some sort of construction.

During the Wyoming School Facilities Commission meeting in Lusk this week, the school district was approved to participate in a Most Cost Effective Remedy study to address secondary school capacity issues. The district participated in a similar study in 2015 for elementary school overcrowding.

“It’s a valuable process to go through,” said Charlotte Reynolds, the district’s information coordinator. “It documents and validates our need and also gives us a snapshot into what we can anticipate in the future.”

It will ensure that there’s “no stone left unturned,” she added.

The Request for Proposal will be drafted during a meeting in Cheyenne on Aug. 7 and then sent out as quickly as possible. Assistant Superintendent of Operational Services Jeff Daugherty will participate in the RFP writing process.

“The School Facilities Commission was extraordinarily supportive,” Daugherty said. “It was a unanimous vote. We didn’t even have to get through half of our points.”

He said having the deed in hand for an exaction parcel in Teton Village was “very compelling.”

“That was the most persuasive element, in my opinion,” Daugherty said.

The RFP will also include Laramie County School District No. 1 for cost efficiencies.

“We think there will be meaningful economies there,” Daugherty said.

It’s unclear how much the study for both schools will cost the state. If the state’s funds are insufficient to cover the cost, Teton County School District will cover their shortfall until the state is able to repay the district.

Another step in the process that’s happening soon is the creation of a collaborative advisory committee, made up of a number of people including a school board member, administrator, teacher, parent, student, elected official, a representative of the business community and more who will work with consultants to prepare recommendations for the school board’s consideration.

“A variety of people who would bring different perspectives would sit on this advisory committee that’s yet to be formed,” said Reynolds.

Once the RFP goes out and a contractor is chosen, Daugherty said the study would likely take six months. The community can expect a vote on whatever options the consultants come up with likely in the spring of 2019.

Trustees will then make final recommendations to a select committee and then participate in the next legislative session to get the money needed for construction.

“From where we sit, the sooner, the better,” Reynolds said.

While the timeline may seem long when overcrowding exists today, Daugherty said the district is being proactive — especially compared to last time.

The state likes schools to be around 85 percent capacity. The district is at around 97 percent capacity for secondary schools. It was over 100 percent capacity in elementary schools by the time Munger Mountain Elementary School started going through this process.

“With Munger Mountain, we waited 10 years until we were underwater,” he said. “We actually have kids today that are excited to go to Munger because it will be the first time they’re in the ‘big building’ because they’ve always been in modulars. We waited too long last time. We’re being proactive so that our students are being educated in the optimal learning environment.”

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