The Saratoga Sun -

CCSD2 asked about land lease

School board gets request to lease parcels around previously sold school building for easier access


Photo courtesy Google Maps

As shown in this photo, the distance between the old Medicine Bow High School and the Medicine Bow Fire House is restricting access for Viridis Eolia, the company that now owns the old high school.

As the number of wind energy companies interested in the area in and around the small town of Medicine Bow, the requests to lease property has continued to increase. During the last meeting of the Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD2) Board of Trustees on Feb. 20, the board members listened to a proposal for such a lease from Dean Byrne via phone.

Byrne, owner of DDV, LLC., a Cheyenne, Wyo. based company, made the proposal on behalf of Viridis Eolia, a wind energy company that already has some familiarity with Medicine Bow. The company, which has offices in Cheyenne but is based in Venezuela, already purchased the Medicine Bow High School in April 2017 and plans to use the building as an operations and maintenance facility.

Additionally, Byrne is no stranger to Medicine Bow, either. Before consulting for Viridis Eolia, he had worked for Casper businessman Neil "Mick" McMurry and had helped build the fireman's hall in Medicine Bow. It was, in fact, that very structure that prompted Viridis Eolia, through Byrne, to approach the Board of Trustees.

According to Byrne, the fireman's hall, which sits on the corner of the property now owned by Viridis Eolia, restricts access to the old high school. The property that is owned by CCSD2 surrounding the school would not only provide easier access, but give the wind energy company a place to store equipment and materials.

"The property that the school district owns on the north side of that school property would really enhance our plans for the school building," said Byrne. "We do not intend to use it for a mancamp or that type of building, we intend to use it as a storage yard."

Byrne went on to state that the lease would allow Viridis Eolia to access their property without a being a nuisance to either Medicine Bow or the fireman's hall. The representative for the wind energy company also floated the idea of a purchase option in the lease agreement.

Following the proposal from Byrne, the Board of Trustees requested that he work with CCSD2 Superintendent Jim Copeland on a more concrete presentation that would be seen by the board at a later date.

In addition to the proposal from Byrne, the Board of Trustees was also provided an update in regards to the possibility of leasing property to Oftedal Construction, Inc. (OCI). As was reported previously (see "School board gets windy" on page 2 of the Dec. 26, 2018 Saratoga Sun), OCI had approached the board about the use of lots north of the old Medicine Bow High School.

At the most recent meeting, George Hruska, of OCI, returned to the board to inform them that OCI would not be pursuing the lease.

"After consulting with High Plains Power and what the cost would be just for the transformer, it just priced it out of the park right off the gate," said Hruska.

Hruska informed the board that OCI may return to the Board of Trustees at a later point and wanted to keep the line of communication open.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the CCSD2 Board of Trustees is at 4 p.m. on March 18 at the Saratoga Middle/High School.


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