On July 18th the Jackson Town Council and Teton County Board of Commissioners approved the Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) ballot for the November 8th election. Included on that ballot are two projects to benefit Teton County School District- a new Bronc Achievement Center and District Employee Housing.
Bronc Achievement Center- $16.5 Million
JHHS was built in 2000 and had 500 students. The school was expected to meet student enrollment for 20 years. The school district grows annually by approximately 75-100 students and this year alone there are more than 100 new high school students. This fall, the high school will have an estimated 909 students enrolled. This enrollment brings JHHS to 90% capacity. While 909 students can be accommodated, the facility is not adequate to fully provide the services and ensure the needs of individual students are met per the expectations of our district, community and state. If this trend continues, and all forecasts indicate it will, we will be over 100% capacity by this time next year.
A 2018 study identified a high priority need for additional classroom space at the Middle School and the High School—an issue the Bronc Achievement Center could solve. The customized prefabricated building would allow the district to repurpose space within the existing high school to ease overcrowding and create much needed academic classrooms. The estimated $36.5 million cost is significantly less than constructing a new or second high school, for an estimated cost at over $80M.
We are working with the state to secure the additional $20M needed in addition to SPET. The current plan is for the Bronc Achievement Center to house specialized classrooms that need large, customized spaces in order to best accommodate the course’s goals. Classes like culinary, fabrication lab, media arts, engineering are examples of the classes that may be specially designed in the BAC. The building will also have health classes, weight room, training room and recreational spaces such as an indoor track and courts that will provide our students and community a multifaceted space for academic and extracurricular activities. A team of high school staff will be invited and encouraged to work with other District staff and the architects to create classrooms and a building that is designed to meet student needs.
Multi-family unit housing for TCSD staff- $16 million
The district has been working with housing consulting firm Navigate since June 2021 to identify and prioritize employee housing solutions.
The proposed project for SPET funding is the first of three buildings located next to Jackson Hole Middle School. Each of the three buildings will include 24 units, 72 rental units total. The first 24-unit building has an estimated cost of $16 million which is the request for the SPET ballot.
As of June 2022, 60 employees resigned and 7 retired from the district. The majority of those leaving were doing so due to the lack of stable and attainable housing.
The district spends up to $50,000 on the hiring process including onboarding, mentoring and training once hired. When employees leave after an average of five years, that investment is lost.
These two SPET proposals, if approved by the voters, will help alleviate overcrowding and secure stable, long-term employee housing solutions, which are two critical issues for our District to remain the top performing District in the state of Wyoming.