ROCK SPRINGS — After over two years of discussions, a decision has been made on Lincoln Elementary School. Sweetwater County School District No. 1 trustees voted to tear down the building.
Chairwoman Carol Jelaco and Trustees Max Mickelson, John Bettolo, Matthew Jackman, Stephanie Thompson and George Reedy voted in favor of the demolition. Lenny Hay was absent from the special meeting Monday.
Thompson said letting the building continue to sit and deteriorate was not helping the district.
The district will inform the State Legislature of the district’s decision and hope funding for the demolition will be on the docket for the 2020 budget session. The cost to demolish the building, about $880,000, would be funded from the state’s capital projects budget. As for the building itself, it must go through asbestos abatement before it gets destroyed.
Depending on if the state allocates the funds, work could begin in about a year, Sweetwater No. 1 Director of School Facilities Dan Selleroli said after the meeting.
Jackman said some say the decision was hasty, but the money will disappear if the district waited to take any action.
Lincoln Elementary was built in 1950 with additions put on in 1953, 1962 and 1991. The 69-year-old, 44,425 square-foot building sits on about 5 acres of land off Edgar Street. The district voted to close the school after the 2016-17 school year due to a $6 million-plus deficit following state legislative cuts.
During a public hearing, retired Wyoming Department of Transportation engineer David Fedrizzi suggested using the former elementary school to address overcrowding issues at Rock Springs High School. However, Selleroli said the costs to work on the building is too much and this would not be a wise use of district money.
The building has several problems including a gym with water issues, a ceiling that is too low to meet current codes, having only one Americans with Disabilities Act compliant entrance that has no access to the lower level, no elevator, and wheelchair accommodations and restrooms that are not compliant, according to the district.
Deferred maintenance costs are about $2.29 million with money that would go toward illumination and lighting, indoor air quality and technology readiness. The building, however, does not address facility condition needs index codes, such as fire code systems and Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The cost to replace all the necessary components would be $6.64 million, and the amount needed for a new building would be around $16.6 million, according to Sweetwater No. 1.
The district said it intends to keep the property and may use it as a field house for student activities. The next step involves looking at property options.
RSHS social studies teacher Mark Chollak suggested the district weighs its options before making any decisions about a field house or anything else.
Jelaco said the public will help determine the future use of the property.