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UW Trustees Authorize Performing Arts, Half Acre, White Hall Bonds


July 19, 2012 — The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted Thursday to issue $39.7 million in bonds to help fund major renovations and expansions of three campus buildings, and to refinance a prior bond issue.

With those bond proceeds and legislative appropriations, UW’s Performing Arts Building and Half Acre Gymnasium will see significant improvements and expansions, and White Hall will be upgraded to a modern student residence hall.

The bond issue, approved by the 2012 Wyoming State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Matt Mead, will generate proceeds of $12.2 million for the Performing Arts project; $12 million for Half Acre; and $10 million for White Hall. The board also agreed to refinance up to $10 million of UW bonds issued in 2005.

The bonds sold at a premium and will provide $45.4 million in project and refinancing proceeds. The bonds were issued at an all-in cost of 2.77 percent, the lowest cost of borrowing in UW history.

In addition to voting for the bond issue, trustees authorized UW’s Facilities Planning Office to negotiate a contract with Sampson Construction Co. of Cheyenne to serve as the construction manager at-risk for the Performing Arts project. Construction is expected to begin in early 2013.

The Performing Arts project will be funded by a combination of bond proceeds, a $14.2 million legislative appropriation, private donations and other funds. Earlier this year, UW’s visual arts programs moved into the new Visual Arts facility on the east end of campus. The 43-year old Performing Arts Building will continue to be home to the theater, dance and music programs.

Renovation and expansion of Half Acre Gymnasium is expected to cost $27 million -- funded by $15 million in state general funds and the $12 million in bond sale proceeds, which will be repaid by student fees. The expanded and renovated facility will be renamed the Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center, representing a holistic approach to wellness and providing a modern recreational experience requested by UW students. It will include more exercise machines, more free-weight stations and more space for multi-activity sports, along with informal gathering and social spaces.

The White Hall project, already under way, is the final piece of a major effort to upgrade UW residence halls to meet the needs of today's college students. It will transform the 12-story dormitory into a modern residence hall with new carpet, inviting lounge space, computer labs, study rooms, new furnishings and lights, and new fire suppression systems. Completion is expected before the start of 2013 fall semester classes. Sampson Construction Co. of Cheyenne is the general contractor, and GSG Architecture of Casper provided the design and construction documents. The $10 million in bonds will be repaid with residence hall fees.

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