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The Gillette College transition continues to move forward

Gillette College logo
Gillette College
The newly redesigned logo for Gillette College.

In the months since Campbell County voters elected to make Gillette College its own independent community college district last Aug., progress has been made with hiring an executive team and with achieving accreditation.

However, the process of becoming a stand-alone institution will continue for the next few years.

“We have two vice presidents on site now including myself, a Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs and our Vice President of Administrative Services/CFO,” said Gillette College interim president Janell Oberlander. “And then also we have our Executive Assistant to the President and Board of Trustees here as well as a human resources director.”

She said while additional hires will be necessary this fall to aid with the accreditation process, such as a human resources director, they’ve filled the positions needed for the time being.

Staff will begin to make the transition at the beginning of the new fiscal year in July, Oberlander said.

“Now we can start working towards bringing employees over from the Northern Wyoming Community College District (NWCCD),” she said. “And so that's where we're at in negotiations is really finalizing those exhibits that follow the memorandum of understanding that really outlined the details of how this transfer is going to happen.”

The college already is working on another budget after previously approving one after the initial split.

Accreditation is also progressing and will take less time than was initially planned, which was originally estimated to be up to five years.

If budgetary conditions allow, there is a possibility that athletics and other extracurricular activities, such as the choral group Energy City Voices, could come back as soon as the fall of 2023. But Oberlander said they have to approve the budget and they have to reapply and be accepted back as a member school of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). If that happens, they can look to hire coaches and an athletic director for upcoming competitions.

Cross country was one of the sports that was cut due to the long distances that the college had to travel to compete against other two-year colleges. Oberlander said there could be a possibility it would be brought back at a later date, though it won’t be returning if the other athletic programs are revived, such as volleyball and basketball. The Gillette College rodeo team was not affected by the cancellation of sports at both Gillette or Sheridan and isn’t governed by the NJCAA.

A memorandum of understanding that was agreed to last year is guiding the transition for both the Gillette Community College District and the NWCCD.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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