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School board gets windy

CCSD No. 2 Board of Trustees hears proposal for leasing property near old Medicine Bow High School


December 26, 2018

During their regularly scheduled meeting at 4 p.m. on Dec. 17 at the Central Office, the Carbon County School District (CCSD) No. 2 Board of Trustees, complete with new board members Karen Condict and Charlie George, heard and discussed a proposal from Oftedal Construction, Inc.’s (OCI) Business Development Director George Hruska. The board of trustees also went through their annual reorganization of the board with little change to the makeup.

Near the end of his report to the board, CCSD No. 2 Superintendent Jim Copeland informed the members that he had been approached by Medicine Bow resident, and owner of the Virginian, Vernon Scott about property adjacent to the old Medicine Bow High School.

“Apparently, there was some trailer hookups there at some point,” said Copeland. “The possibility is that companies that are going to come in and do work are leasing properties or hook-ups so they can move in housing for the wind farm constructions over the next couple of years.”

Copeland further informed the board that, from what he understood in a conversation with Scott, companies interested in leasing out properties for employees on projects often prepared the site for occupancy.

“He (Scott) was just wondering if we wanted to come discuss the possibility, or pursue the possibilities, of leasing that land to someone that might come in and upgrade those and the school district would get some small percentage,” Copeland said.

The CCSD No. 2 superintendent then turned the conversation over to new board member George, who resides in Medicine Bow and works for the Town of Medicine Bow, to provide more background on the property for the other board members. According to George, the property has approximately 40-50 lots that were placed in the early 1990s for teacher housing.

“There’s 40-50 lots over there that could be put into service by a company that was wishing to lease them. The only thing that I would bring up is that, if they are put into service, the district leases it to this company, that after the fact there will still be a maintenance fee on those water service taps through the town. There might have to be some negotiations there, after the fact,” said George.

A concern brought up by board member James Sewell was whether or not the school district would be competing with individuals in Medicine Bow who would be looking to do similar leases with their own property preceding the expected influx of workers for the wind energy projects.

“I think the school district could get away from that by leasing to another individual and that individual would be responsible for the upkeep, and stuff, of the property,” George said.

“I think if you do the impact numbers, for like TransWest and Gateway … and all of that, there are enough people that they are going to fill up those other lots and then the overflow is going to go over to Laramie. So, I think it might be more about timing,” added board member Kassey Westring.

Following the initial discussion, Copeland introduced Hruska, who provided some background on OCI, which is based in Casper. According to Hruska, OCI has worked with Pacificorp and Rocky Mountain Power for nearly 30 years and, up until recently, was working with Power Company of Wyoming on the Chokecherry/Sierra Madre project.

“We still have a great relationship with them, we think that in the future we will be back on the project. We are also working on the TB Flatts in Carbon County as well as the Ekola Flatts project in Carbon County,” said Hruska.

The quickest approaching project, however, that OCI is working on is the Aelous substation. According to Hruska, OCI will be bringing crews for that project in, which is estimated to last three years, around March or April 2019. The school district property wouldn’t just be leased out to OCI and it’s workers, but would be available to other companies coming in to work on related wind energy projects. Hruska told the board that, if OCI wished to proceed with a proposal, the ideal length would be a five-year lease with an option to renew for another five years.

“What are the plans for those? Are you going to put trailer houses, are they going to be RVs?” asked board member Kaycee Alameda.

“We’re not looking to put in a mancamp, perse. We are looking at temporary-permanent locations. When all these projects are done and complete, there’s going to be workers there that they’re going to have to hire on and live somewhere,” Hruska replied.

The board told Hruska that OCI could evaluate the property and present a proposal at the next meeting, which will be held in Medicine Bow.

During their annual reorganization, Chairman Joe Gaspari retained his seat, Paul Clark filled the vacant Vice-Chairman position, Kaycee Alameda retained the position of Clerk and James Sewell retained the position of Treasurer.

The next meeting of the CCSD No. 2 Board of Trustees will be at 4 p.m. on Jan. 21, 2019 at the Medicine Bow School.


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