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University of Wyoming Foundation

The Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center Embodies Wyoming

president's conference room

The Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center is a place for the past, present, and future to meet in one space, but it also juxtaposes the rustic with the contemporary—which is representative of the University of Wyoming, the state of Wyoming, and the people. 

A Sophisticated Look

The interior design of the facility has captured this juxtaposition in grand style.

Initial expectations for the interior design were high quality, craftsmanship, and the UW colors in various textures, colors, shades, and hues. What the interior design team—the DLR Group—came up with not only met those expectations but surpassed them.

“It’s going to be a sophisticated look, but it definitely still has the school pride and colors integrated into it,” says Audrey Koehn, designer with DLR Group. “It will be stunning when it’s all done.”

The design team consists of Rosalie Ruwart, owner of R M Ruwart Design; Audrey Koehn interior designer with DLR Group; and Allison Mayor, interior designer and project manager with Pear Workplace Solutions, the dealer for Haworth. Designs were guided by the UW Foundation board facilities planning team and donor intent.

School pride will be evident throughout—with browns and golds in the furniture, carpets, and paint. In addition, the bucking horse and rider will also be placed prominently throughout the building.

“The fact that they are embracing the UW colors and the UW brand throughout the building—that is what this building is about,” explains Ruwart. “The furniture has been chosen to work well with the architecture of the building, the colors are neutral with a lot of browns and rich leathers, and yes there will be a pop of Game Day Gold on each floor. There will be a modern flair to some pieces and beautiful woods used on others. The furniture will fit in perfectly as not to distract from the fine detailing of the building it furnishes.”

Every piece of furniture and design element in this building will be luxurious and speak to the practicality and sophistication of the University of Wyoming, the state, and the people within it. But it won’t be frivolous—every piece will have a purpose and function.

“The furniture actually brings a human scale to the building,” says Mayor. “The building is massive, and it’s important to have private spaces but also public spaces that have a personal element to them.”

The Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center will be a warm and inviting place for everyone—with walnut woods and warm tones that will add to the design of the building, including conference rooms, the ballroom, and the public spaces. The leather and tweed upholstery are indicative of Wyoming’s down-to-earth nature, while the contemporary lines and styles show off our worldly connections.

The Defining Element

The facility itself contrasts the rustic and contemporary.

One of the defining elements of University of Wyoming buildings is sandstone. When the university was founded in 1886, Old Main was constructed of sandstone that was quarried locally. The architect, Frederick Hale, designed it in Romanesque Revival style, which was intended to contextualize Wyoming, with the rough texture of the building representing the developing frontier and the minimal classical decoration symbolic of the emerging sophistication of the Wyoming people.

Old Main’s rough-cut sandstone was quarried just outside Laramie, and the Potsdam Sandstone trim was quarried in Rawlins. While the convenience of local building materials probably played a major role, it also started a tradition, and for many years after, buildings on campus were constructed from sandstone that was quarried near Laramie.

The facility’s traditional sandstone and state-of-the-art technological displays links the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center’s ties to the past with its vision of the future. The technology includes a wide array of video and audio innovations that will make the center a technological wonder that showcases the University of Wyoming and its history.

The outside of the building is covered in sandstone, like many buildings on the UW campus, but the interior designers have also incorporated it inside the building, further enhancing the tradition and ties to the history of the school and the state.

In addition, state-of-the-art office spaces will provide a welcoming environment for employees. An open floor plan will allow for ease of collaboration between departments and UW constituents.

“This building is going to bring a whole new look to the office space, not done on campus before,” says Ruwart. “They have opened up the space, by taking down traditional walls, there will be teaming areas and work stations.” These office spaces will also be welcoming for visitors with many spaces for them to touch down and take care of business.

The center is a remarkable statement regarding the impact of private fundraising on Wyoming’s university. It is funded completely through private support, including a $10 million commitment from Marian H. Rochelle to name the center and a $6 million commitment from Mick and Susie McMurry through the McMurry Foundation to name the center’s two most prominent visitors’ spaces: the McMurry Foundation Grand Atrium and the McMurry Foundation UW Legacy Hall.

The Rochelle Gateway Center is scheduled to open in late 2014.

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The University of Wyoming President's conference room in the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. 

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