CASPER, Wyo. — Natrona County High School has an indoor sports facility known as the Mustang Athletic Community Center (MACC).
The school could get a new bridge to connect the facility with the main building if the Natrona County School District Board of Trustees decides to move forward on this proposal.
Members of the NCHS girls swim team attended the work session to show their support for the proposal.
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The proposed bridge project has an estimated cost of $770,432, which would come from the district’s capital projects fund.
“The purpose of the bridge is to increase safety and security for students and staff as they move from the main building to the MACC,” the district says. “Additionally, this will allow for more effective and efficient use of staff, as staff must be present before and after each class period at the entrance of both buildings as students pass.”
School board Chair Rita Walsh said she wasn’t comfortable with safety and security being used as a reason for the bridge. She said she thought the bridge project was for convenience.
She said that if the school board wanted to view it as a safety project, they should consider spreading funding around to increase safety at schools throughout the district.
Trustee Dave Applegate said he respectfully disagreed with Walsh and said that adding the bridge as a safety feature made sense. He pointed to the number of students moving back and forth between the MACC and the main building.
“I will be supporting both the pool and the bridge,” Applegate said.
He also pointed out the the district has a number of other safety projects, so didn’t want to give the impression that this would be the only safety project in NCSD.
Applegate added that single-point of entry has been a frequent focus for providing safety schools across the district and the bridge project would add to it.
Trustee Kevin Christopherson said it was a “no-brainer” to him to add the bridge project at the estimated cost. He agreed with Walsh that it was a convenience project.
Christopherson said that he thought the school board should spend the money for the bridge project now before the state takes that money back.
School board Vice Chair Dana Howie said that spending money on the bridge may not be a smart decision, though she thought NC should get a pool.
“I don’t care about the bridge,” she said.
Howie pointed out that the district may soon face a teacher shortage and funding for the bridge would be better spent there.
Trustee Debbie McCullar said she thought the price tag for the bridge project was fairly high.
School board Treasurer Ray Catellier said he would probably even support a bigger pool.
Trustee Clark Jensen also said he thinks the bridge was a safety issue. He said he supports both it and the pool project.
Trustee Angela Coleman said the school board should, first of all, make sure they are listening to what the public thinks about both the bridge and pool projects.
She also said they should keep in mind that Natrona may have to consider re-opening other schools in the future and think about the associated costs that would come with.
The following school district is considering the following timeline for the proposed project:
The school board is also considering a $10.2 million proposal to add a pool facility to the MACC. That project would have a similar timeline as the bridge project proposal.
This early concept design shows what the exterior of such a pool facility might look like:
The school board would need to approve the project in regular meetings in order for it to get underway.