County Takes First Step Toward Creating New College District for Gillette College

Commissioners Bell, Maul, Reardon and Shelstad applaud after receiving a public comment
Commissioners Rusty Bell, Bob Maul, DG Reardon and Del Shelstad applaud after Pronghorn Basketball Player's public comment.

Commissioners Rusty Bell, Bob Maul, DG Reardon and Del Shelstad applaud Pronghorn Basketball player’s public comment during June meeting addressing sports program cuts.

 

The Campbell County Board of Commissioners assembled a task force responsible for creating and presenting an application to the Wyoming Community College Commission (WCCC) to request a new college district be created for Campbell County.

The move follows the Northern Wyoming Community College District (NWCCD)’s announcement in June that the district would cut funding to the men’s and women’s basketball and soccer teams at both Sheridan and Gillette colleges as well as the women’s volleyball team at Sheridan College.

Since then, a group of concerned community members from both areas have addressed the Campbell County Commissioner’s board and NWCCD prompting several community members including Commissioner Rusty Bell to begin looking into Gillette College’s options.

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Initially, the county requested that NWCCD allow Gillette College to privately fund their sports programs for the upcoming schoolyear, which the district denied. Now, Bell said he and other community advocates are looking into creating an entirely new district for the college.

According to Bell, the commissioners are one step closer to the creation of the new district after unanimously voting Tuesday to adopt a resolution that stated Campbell County has met the first prerequisites necessary to form a new college district, which includes educating around 8,750 students grades nine through twelve and obtaining a valuation assessed at $2,242,015,313.

Now, the county can move forward with the application process, he said.

According to state statute, college districts can only be placed in communities that collect valuations of at least $100,000,000 and teach at least 1,500 students at the high school level.

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During the board’s discussion, Commissioner Colleen Faber noted that the option for a new college district will be voted on by the public before the county commences the official process.

“This issue will not be featured on the November ballot this year,” Bell then explained.

For now, he added, the county’s application will be submitted to the WCCC, who will review whether Campbell County is eligible for a new college district.

For now, the commissioners’ task force has been assembled to include County Clerk Carol Seeger, who will represent the County; City Administrator Pat Davidson, representing the City of Gillette; Representative Eric Barlow, who’ll handle the legislative aspects of the process; and community members and long-term Gillette College supporters David Horning, Robert Palmer, Josh McGrath, Jerry Tystad and Paul Hladky.