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UW Trustees Approve Capital Construction Budget Requests


July 15, 2011 —  Renovation and expansion of a facility for performing arts academic programs and a major renovation to White Hall top the list of capital construction budget requests approved Friday by the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees for the 2013-14 biennium.

The requests will be submitted to the state's Administration and Information Budget Division by the Aug. 1 deadline.

The renovated Fine Arts Building will house the Music and Theatre and Dance departments. The project continues long range planning efforts to achieve areas of cultural distinction outlined in University Plan 3, UW's strategic plan. The first phase, a visual arts facility to house the Department of Art, is being constructed now and scheduled to be completed in December.

After the Art Department relocates to that facility, construction can begin on the performing arts facility that would include 120,000-square-feet of renovated space and a 51,900-square-foot addition.  The facility design is expected to meet or exceed a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) silver level.  It houses offices, teaching laboratory/studios such as music, music rehearsal, acting and dance; and performance spaces such as concert halls and theatres.

The project is critical to maintaining requirements necessary for student success and recruiting and retention of both faculty and students, according to a report presented to the trustees. The facility will support the University Cultural Programs series that brings nationally- and internationally-recognized artists to campus and serve as a base to provide educational opportunities in which visiting artists share their expertise, not only with UW students but with state and regional residents.

This request is for $32.4 million in General Fund appropriations to complete construction documents as well as construction costs for the project.  Construction completion is scheduled for November 2013.

The proposed renovation and improvements to White Hall continue efforts to meet the needs of today's college students by upgrading university housing constructed more than 40 years ago. Beginning with a renovation of the Washakie Center food service facility in 1993, four surrounding residence halls were part of a comprehensive plan to upgrade UW housing to be competitive with other universities and responsive to student expectations, along with needed safety improvements.

The proposed White Hall renovation will improve the existing 12-story facility constructed in 1967 while maintaining traditional living quarters similar to those in Downey Hall, an eight-story residence hall scheduled to reopen this fall, following similar renovations. Renovations to McIntyre and Orr halls were previously completed.

The university requests authorization to issue $10 million in revenue bonds, which, together with $4 million in auxiliary cash reserves, will fund the project. If approved by the governor and Wyoming State Legislature, construction could begin in May 2012 and be completed in August 2013.

The renovation would incorporate many new life-safety upgrades required for "high-rise" buildings, enhancements to the electrical distribution systems to provide adequate power for all electrical devices in rooms, interior lighting, data systems and interior design improvements including carpeted rooms, lounge spaces, computer laboratories, study rooms and comfortable furnishings.

Other proposed capital projects approved by the UW trustees:

Long Range Development Plan and infrastructure improvements, $30 million;

Half Acre Recreation Center, $27 million, funded jointly by proposed student fee increases ($15 million over 20 years) and state appropriations ($12 million);

Level II planning for an Engineering Building addition, $1.25 million;

Classroom/facility adaptations, $8 million;

Level II planning for a shared facility with Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, $300,000; and

Level II planning for a Pharmacy Building addition, $700,000.

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