Former Byron school to become town property

It’s official: The Town of Byron will become the owner of the former Byron school, without any demolition, following a 3-2 vote during an emotional special council meeting Tuesday night, Aug. 23.

The gym at the school in Byron.

Voting in favor of the action were council members Gil Cordova, Alan Bair and Marie McCollam. Casting “no” votes were councilman Dennis Cozzens and Mayor Bret George.

The vote before a standing-room-only crowd of some 45 persons in the town complex culminates approximately 30 months of study and consideration regarding accepting ownership of the former school from Big Horn County School District One. The facility has around 95,000 square feet of space. The goal is to utilize the structure for business and industry to stimulate the town economy.

Following the vote, Bair suggested that the town ask the school district to not open bids this week on a variety of stainless steel kitchen equipment, including walk-in freezers, in the former school. Retaining the items would help maintain the integrity of the building, and could make it more attractive for potential tenants, or as a municipal site. George agreed to pursue the request with BHCSD1 Supt. Shon Hocker, and the council tacitly agreed.

Comments by 30 citizens, nearly all Byron residents, were voiced prior to the council deliberations and vote. The majority spoke in favor of taking ownership of the site with the building intact.

Editor’s note: More details of the Aug. 23 meeting will be provided in next week’s Chronicle.

By Bob Rodriguez