While the state is unlikely to purchase the building housing the Laramie Montessori School, the Legislature is likely to explore other locations that the charter school could eventually be moved into.
The state is expected to pay $6 million in rent over the next 30 years to keep the school in its current location.
Laramie Montessori took over the former St. Laurence O’Toole Catholic School building, which closed in 2016 following rising costs and declining student enrollment.
Under the terms of the five-year lease, Laramie Montessori pays the church $6,398 in base rent each month, with an annual increase of 4 percent.
The rent price is expected to be increased “significantly” after the term of the existing lease.
As the state explored whether it would be cheaper to simply buy the property, the School Facilities Division hired a consultant to assess the condition of the building, which was assessed as having a market value of $820,000.
However, a detailed analysis estimated the building would need $2.4 million in repairs and upgrades in the next 10 years.
Sen. Bill Landen and Rep. Tom Walters, both Casper Republicans, co-chair the select committee and both express interest in exploring other options.
”I think there is a lot of desire on the part of the committee to move forward in some fashion to help Albany County,” Landen said. “I don’t think there’s a lot of sentiment to move forward with the current structure.”
Landen said he expects the issue to be a continuing topic of work for the School Facilities Division during the 2019 interim.
Walters said its worth exploring other options in Laramie, like having the Montessori school share the old Walmart building with Snowy Range Academy.
However, he acknowledged moving Laramie Montessori also has considerable drawbacks, like moving the school from a centrally located spot.
Laramie Montessori officials stressed at the committee’s October meeting that they like their current location and prefer to stay there — even if means another lease.