Making the old new again
Recreation & Athletics Complex to be transformed
Laramie County Community College will transform one of its oldest buildings on campus, the Recreation & Athletics Complex (RAC), into a state-of-the-art facility that will provide benefits not just for student athletes, but the whole community.
Built in 1971, the same year as the grand-openings for NASDAQ and Disney World, the RAC has only seen minor improvements and structural changes over the past 50 years. But those changes only went so far. With the building’s electrical capacity maximized, no air conditioning and aging infrastructure, the college is now looking at substantial improvements. They will address these issues and create a facility that will bring LCCC athletics into the modern era, and serve as a benefit to the Cheyenne community and economy.
“While we know our students and employees will benefit from the renovation of the facility, we are also committed to making the RAC available for community use as well. We want these improvements to create a space that can be an economic driver for our community. We hope to host youth sporting events and community events in the future,” says LCCC President Dr. Joe Schaffer.
The project was expected to cost $14 million when it was originally proposed in 2017. With increased construction costs and inflation, the college is now working with local contractor GH Phipps and architect Plan One to bring the project into the current $20 million budget.
Some of the key improvements include moving the competition gym into the existing Multipurpose Room (MPR), increasing the ceiling height to align with NJCAA requirements and increasing seating. The new seating will accommodate 1,300 spectators. The project, which includes a two-story addition to the west end of the current MPR, will allow for additional office spaces, student-athlete locker rooms, weight training facilities and storage. Additionally, the upgrades will include a larger allocation of space for both fitness and weight training for all LCCC students and employees.
LCCC’s current student population is 5,300 full- and part-time students, and beginning this fall with the addition of a new residence hall, the college will have approximately 600 residential students, an increase of 350 residential students from previous years. These students along with LCCC’s 120 student athletes are excited about the potential for quality recreation and fitness spaces on campus.
For instance, the current weight room only holds about 15 students, and that means athletes and coaches have to make accommodations to use the space.
“I think improvements to the RAC will greatly benefit both the students and student athletes at LCCC. In order to share the space and give everyone time to use the facility, student athletes and the LCCC athletic programs sometimes start practice or workouts as early as 6 a.m. and end as late as 9 p.m.,” says Ximena Gutierrez, a member of LCCC’s women’s basketball team.
The college will continue to utilize its current competition gym as a space for recreational use by the community and campus.
This allows for homeschool student P.E. classes to continue being offered at LCCC and expanding intramural opportunities for LCCC students.
“The footprint of the building will not change,” says Rick Johnson, vice president of Administration & Finance at the college. “We are excited that the space will allow our students to have a quality recreation and fitness experience on campus.”
Work on the renovation and expansion of the RAC will begin in September with completion targeted for December 2023.
The RAC renovation and expansion is a $20 million project that will be funded with $10 million in capital construction support from the Wyoming Legislature, to be matched by the college. LCCC will provide $6 million in funding through bonds backed by existing student fees, $1 million in reserves, and the LCCC Foundation will provide the remaining $3 million in private gift support. To date, $1.8 million of the $3 million in private support has been raised.
“This project is not just for LCCC, but we want it to benefit Laramie County and the
southeast corner of Wyoming as well. As we have with all of our facilities, we look
for this renovation to provide greater economic growth opportunities for our community
as we all benefit from
an improved recreation facility in Cheyenne,” President Schaffer says.
Members of the campus and community are invited to view progress and architectural renderings of the building at lccc.wy.edu/RAC.