SHERIDAN — It might have taken longer than originally planned, but construction of the new John C. Schiffer Collaborative School building is nearly complete, according to Sheridan County School District 2 officials.
The new home for the alternative high school located on more than 3.6 acres at the southern end of the Sheridan College campus in Sheridan was originally planned to be open by the start of the current 2020-21 school year. But, when bids on the $8.3-million project, funded by the Wyoming Facilities Division, came in higher than expected, construction of the school was delayed for nearly a year, giving SCSD2 and Sheridan College officials time to work out logistical issues.
According to SCSD2 Facilities Director Mathers Heuck, the new school should soon open its doors, possibly as early as June.
“The John C. Schiffer School has just about two months to go until completion,” Heuck said at the SCSD2 Board of Trustees meeting Monday. “Right now, it’s just finishing work.”
Heuck said the finishing touches on the new school include items such as flooring , installation of fire alarm speakers and signage on the interior of the building, as well as sidewalks, exterior siding and landscaping on the exterior.
The 22,000-square-foot building is set to have an enrollment capacity of 116 students, with room for future expansion. The school is currently housed using space rented from the college and serves SCSD2 high school students, but could eventually include students from SCSD1, SCSD3 and Johnson County, according to previous reports by The Sheridan Press.
As the project enters its final phase, Heuck provided school board members with some additional good news. Bids on furniture for the new school came in at less than expected, with the bulk of the contract for the items being awarded to a local business.
At Monday night’s meeting, the board approved to award $185,844 to Top Office Products of Sheridan.
“I’m super excited we’re going with a local business,” said SCSD2 Trustee Ann Perkins. “They support us. We support them. I’m glad how it turned out.”
Office Scapes of Denver, Colorado, will receive a little more than $13,000 for the purchase of the remainder of the equipment.
“We were concerned that the effects of COVID were going to drive up prices like other manufactured items have in recent months but we were happy to see they came in on budget,” Heuck said.
Including the completion of the new alternative school, Heuck said the district is in a “great place” as far as the overall status of district facilities, as board members also approved SCSD2’s annual facilities plan.
“We’re really positioned well for the next five to 10 years for growth,” Heuck said.
He added recent renovations at some of the district’s older schools have helped to upgrade the various facilities.
According to Heuck, Sagebrush Elementary School, built in 1986, is the district’s oldest elementary school in Sheridan but a renovation of the building was completed last summer and “essentially left us with a brand new school,” he said. Story Elementary was also renovated in 2013 and is considered to be in excellent condition.
Heuck added the Early Building on the junior high campus is the next oldest, having been built in 1977, and will likely be remodeled in the next few years provided funding is available.