Phone Service Halts Extension Move

Educator Scott Hininger of the University of Wyoming's extension office in Sheridan said a problem with phone service delayed the department's move to a new location last week, at the last minute.

So, he and his staff are still at the Sheridan County Courthouse working out of boxes while they wait for word on when they can move to the Watt Regional Ag Center at Sheridan College.

The university educator talks about how the move will affect his office.

The extension educator said the move is projected to happen, now, as early as the middle of next month or as late as November. The move will bring all of the university's services in Sheridan together under one roof and include the outreach center and agricultural experiment station, which has been at the Watt Center for the past two years.

The extension service's move to the Watt Center originally was planned for last week, with Mac's Moving of Sheridan moving some of the furniture, along with boxes of files and other documents, last Wednesday. Hininger and his staff were to have started unpacking and organizing on the following two days, and new phones were to have been operational this week.

The extension educator said a problem of communication apparently happened after Centurylink bought out Optimum, the company that would have provided phone service to the extension offices in the Watt Center. Hininger said a work order that had been placed with Optimum apparently did not get picked up by Centurylink. That delayed the process of securing permits and easements needed to lay new phone lines to the Watt Center.

Hininger said some extension service records and materials – items not needed for daily operations – have been moved to the Watt Center.

He says the move, when it does happen, will be bittersweet. Extension Service offices have been in the Sheridan County Courthouse since around 1916 or 1917, occupying offices in the basement and first floor of the old county courthouse building.

Hininger said the university, which bought the Watt Center from Sheridan College in 2012, wanted more of a presence at the college.

Renee Obermueller, county administrator, said there are no firm plans yet for how the county will use the space freed up by the Extension Service move. But she said, Child Support needs more space and has been looking at using part of the office space on the first floor of the old county courthouse building.

Obermueller said the county's IT Department will use the basement office space.

As part of the moving process, Hininger and his staff have been going through nearly a century's worth of records, reports and other materials. Hininger said they were keeping all of the old, historical records and reports, including some 40 or 50 years of 4-H information.

Hininger added, “It's quite an undertaking to go through.”

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