The formation of a separate college district for Gillette could be a good investment for Wyoming’s future.
That was the word from Dr. Walt Tribley, president of the Northern Wyoming Community College District. Speaking at a recent meeting with Sheridan County’s delegates to the Wyoming Legislature, Dr. Tribley said he thinks the city of Gillette is well-positioned to support a college.
In a meeting on Nov. 20, the Wyoming Community College Commission approved a request of Gillette College to separate from the Northern Wyoming Community College District, which sends the request to state legislators for consideration when they convene next year.
Dr. Tribley said there are three state statutes that relate to formation of a college district, and the task of the Legislature is to determine what the legislation should be to guide the formation of a college district in the state.
He said the Legislature needs to take care of the entire state, and has to take care of the existing community colleges that would be most impacted by a separate Gillette College.
Those would be Sheridan College, which is the original college in the Northern Wyoming Community College District, and, Tribley said, probably Eastern Wyoming College. He said that’s because Eastern Wyoming College’s district extends into Moorcroft and Sundance, which are close to Gillette.
Gillette College was originally formed in 1969 as part of the Northern Wyoming Community College District. The college has tried three times over the years to separate from Northern Wyoming, with the most recent attempt stemming from the Northern Wyoming district’s trustees eliminating sports this year.
Campbell County Commissioner Rusty Bell, one of those supporting the separation, has said the core issue is local control. He said decisions for a college in Campbell County are being made by a board of trustees that are all elected, and live, in Sheridan County.