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NOLS breaks ground on new headquarters

LANDER, WYO - June 19, 2000 -- The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) swapped backpacks and climbing gear for hard hats and shovels during a groundbreaking ceremony for the school's new headquarters facility on Monday. The 44,000 sq. ft. building is designed to accommodate the school's growth in recent years and will handle projected growth through the year 2012.


New Headquarters Construction
Photograph by Pamela S Williams

Members from both the NOLS and Lander communities were on hand to break ground, including State Representative Dr. Harry Tipton and his wife Alex, who donated the land for the new facility. Also present were Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer, Mayor Jerry Heckert and First Interstate Bank Riverton Branch President Charles Krebs, who will serve as the Economic Revenue Bond Issuer. Former NOLS Board of Trustees Chair Gretchen Long-Glickman and current Vice-Chair Trina Peterson also helped shovel the first sprinkles of dirt as did long-time NOLS instructors Steve Goryl and Missy White.

The building gets underway 35 years after the first NOLS course headed into the Wind River Mountains near Lander, Wyoming. "We couldn't give up our roots here in Lander," said John Gans, NOLS Executive Director. "While NOLS is part of Lander, Lander is certainly an important part of NOLS."

Karl Weller, NOLS Lander Facility Project Manager, has spent the last year working with local government officials and business leaders and is excited to see the Lander community unite for the project. "Everyone involved has been extremely supportive. NOLS appreciates Lander and I think the community also recognizes that NOLS is an integral part of the economic diversity here," says Weller. "As Mayor Jerry Heckert reminded everyone, it has a lot to do with faith. NOLS is a business that wants to continue to invest in the community."

At a cost of $8.67 million, the building project will contract up to 125 tradesmen during the first phase of construction. Project contractor, Kloefkorn-Ballard Construction and Development, Inc., estimates it will reach completion in 18 months, but the new building is just the beginning. Phase two will involve a complete renovation of the historic Noble hotel, which now holds student housing and the school's primary office space. A student lounge, staff resources room and classrooms to accommodate both NOLS and the recently acquired Wilderness Medicine Institute will be a major part of the renovation project.

The final phase, contingent on fundraising, will turn the Kennedy building located on Third Street into a kitchen and dining room space. "After the completion of all three phases, NOLS will have a real downtown campus," said Weller. "This entire year has been a real cerebral process. Now it's tangible. We're actually building a building now."


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