New LHS Nearly Ready, Funding for Other Laramie School Construction Still in Question
The new Laramie High School will be ready to host classes in early August.
Dr. Jubal Yennie, superintendent of Albany County School District No. 1, says the new LHS will be ready for students and teachers August 4 or 5. A ribbon-cutting ceremony at the school is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 11 at 1 p.m. and an open house is set for Saturday, Aug. 13.
“It’s coming along really well. It’s an exceptional building,” says Yennie. “The community should be very, very proud of this building.”
But the construction of other new schools in Laramie remains up in the air. The Wyoming Legislature reduced funding for school capital construction to about $17 million for fiscal year 2016-2017. That money doesn’t go very far, considering the estimated $88.5 million cost of the new Laramie High School.
“School construction dollars, that’s certainly the million-dollar question at this point,” says Yennie. “But we’re not going to do a wait-and-see. We’re kind of moving forward.”
Yennie says the design of the new Slade Elementary School is moving through the 35-65 percent stage and will likely be complete in the fall.
“So if and when school construction revenue is reinstated, Slade certainly is one of those buildings that will need to be at the top of the list,” says Yennie.
Yennie also says repairs, renovation or a new building will be needed to address structural issues at Laramie Junior High School. According to Yennie, one study said it may be time to for Laramie to go to two middle schools.
“We’ll probably come out with a recommendation that we build two new middle schools at the same time,” says Yennie. “But those are so unknown at this point.”
If funding comes in, Yennie projects construction to begin on Slade within the next two to three years. The junior high would likely have to wait five or six years. Although the ninth grade will move to the high school next year, reducing LJHS attendance by about 170 students, Yennie expects junior high enrollment to top 900 students within five or six years.
“We have that many students that are in our elementary schools that are feeding that program, and we need to have a solution for that expansion,” says Yennie.