Economic Development Q&A series – Member Projects: Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters
Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters went through Phase I of a broad project in 2015 and 2016. Now, Phase II is anticipated to start in a few weeks that include additional room and resources for BBBS. Steve Hamaker gave us the details you can read about below.
Q: How did you manage to make the remodel/renovation possible? I’ve heard grants are involved?
A: About 5 years ago BBBS and Albany County began exploring the possibility of purchasing and renovating the building. We were awarded a planning grant from the Wyoming Business Council and secured an architect to study and building and provide advice on project feasibility. The results were positive and it was determined that the project could be completed within reasonable costs. We continued to develop the project and the county was awarded a Community Facilities Program grant from the WBC for $1.6 million for Phase I construction from 2015 to summer of 2016.
As with any construction project, there wasn’t enough money to complete all of the required projects. In March of 2017 the county was awarded a CDBG grant from WBC to complete the final renovations. The architectural work has been completed and the CMAR has nearly completed the bidding process. We anticipate construction to being within the next few weeks.
Q: What have you already done?
A: Phase I permitted the purchase of the building from the school district and the majority of required renovations. Phase I replaced the mechanical systems, upgraded electrical, removed asbestos, added fire sprinklers, repaired the roof, and repaired interior surfaces and flooring.
Q: What projects do you have coming up and how will this add to the BBBS facility?
A: Phase II primarily involves renovating the currently unused basement areas of the building, resurfacing the parking lot, and finishing up minor upgrades throughout the building. Upon completion we will have the additional benefit of a music room/recording studio, a health/exercise room, a computer/tech lab, and a multipurpose group room for mentoring activities. We will also be adding some smaller spaces that will improve our ability work with families and volunteers in a comfortable, confidential environment.
Q: How will this help Laramie overall?
A: The project helps our organization expand the quantity and quality of services for local youth and families, with the ultimate goal of improving local quality of life, ensuring Laramie remains a great place to raise a family. The BBBS mentoring center was designed for community use, and provides a safe place for volunteers and youth to spend time in their mentoring relationships, especially during our cold winters. We very intentionally designed the space for community groups to meet, host events, and support local families and volunteers at low cost.
Q: Do you anything you would like add?
A: We are so very thankful to all the community members, organizations, businesses, and government officials that have supported the project and made it a reality. We can’t wait to finish construction and look forward to sharing the facility with the community this Fall!