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GCCD Trustees approve $2.4M property purchase agreement; Enzi Center back on

(Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — A purchase agreement to expand Gillette College by 6.4 acres for a new building gained formal approval this week following a decision by the Gillette Community College District Board of Trustees. 

During their meeting on Feb. 21, the trustees approved a purchase agreement between the local college district and the City of Gillette for $2.4 million in exchange for several city-owned lots between Enzi Drive and College Drive. The lots total 6.4 acres and are intended to serve as the future home for the college’s newest building — the Enzi Applied Learning Center. 

Originally, the trustees had intended to accept the agreement with an effective date in early February; however, due to concerns raised by Trustee Alison Ochs-Gee about how adopting an earlier effective date could place the college in a bind in terms of timing, the agreement was amended to be effective as of Feb. 21. 

The purchase will give Gillette College the opportunity for expansion and growth for the foreseeable future, according to Trustee Robert Palmer, who said that he felt the land’s acquisition was important and he believes the college will make the most of the purchase. 

Closing is anticipated to take place later this year, and the board also granted authority for District President Dr. Janell Oberlander and Chairman Josh McGrath to sign any additional documents to that end as necessary. 

The trustees’ decision to secure land for the Enzi Center occurred ahead of a Wyoming House vote regarding a budget amendment introduced by Rep. Ken Clouston (R-Gillette) that brought several line items involving Gillette College that had previously been removed back into the state budget. 

The amendment allows for the transfer of ownership of property to Gillette College and allows the college to proceed with the Enzi Center, according to Clouston, who spoke on the amendment in the legislature on Feb. 21, where he stated it would come at no cost to the state. 

“This 40,000-square-foot building will house new fabrication and science labs to expand and update these programs,” Clouston said, adding that the building will stand in recognition of Mike Enzi, a former U.S. Senator who died in 2021 following a bicycle accident in Gillette after his retirement. 

Clouston claimed the college had acquired the money necessary through private donations to fund the construction of the Enzi Center; however, college officials say the money has not come through yet, according to reporting by the Gillette News Record. 

“This project, again, is at no cost to the State of Wyoming,” Clouston said. “It is all privately donated dollars to honor our Senator Enzi, to expand and update the facilities at the college, and to better prepare our students for entry into the Wyoming workforce.”

The budget amendment passed, and the budget as a whole has now been introduced into the Wyoming Senate for consideration.

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