Cheyenne Architectural/Engineering Firm Selected for UW Literacy Center

March 23, 2012

The Design Studio Inc. is the lead architect/engineering firm for the University of Wyoming's new Literacy Research Center and Clinic.

UW Trustees on Friday selected the Cheyenne firm to begin the process of constructing the LRCC, which will be located in the Education Annex Building on Lewis and 13th streets. Representatives from three Wyoming firms that submitted proposals were interviewed as finalists, says Douglas Vinzant, UW vice president for administration.

The LRCC is expected to serve as the epicenter of literacy expertise, which will help improve the quality of literacy learning, instruction and leadership in the state, says UW College of Education Dean Kay Persichitte.

The center will help meet the needs of learners of all ages (birth through high school). It will boost the instructional capacity of classroom teachers through a three-pronged approach that includes pre-K-12 education, pre-service teacher education and graduate education/research.

The existing 9,000-square feet of the Education Annex Building's lower level will be reconfigured for the LRCC. The estimated $3.85 million cost will be funded with private donations and matched by state appropriations, Vinzant says. The project's design will be finalized in August and construction completed by May 2013.

"The UW College of Education has become a focal point of scholarship and expertise in literacy, an area in which we are poised for national prominence," says UW Provost Myron Allen.

By forming partnerships with public and private schools, and community-based organizations for children and families, LRCC personnel will engage in clinical and professional development activities both on the UW campus and across Wyoming, using state-of-the-art distance technologies.

Research projects will be developed in relation to all clinical and professional development activities.

Persichitte says outreach and research efforts that focus on basic literacy processes; struggling readers and writers; genre-based, discipline-based literacy processes across the K-12 spectrum; family literacy, particularly with poor rural families and families who include English learners; and the transition to post-secondary life are all issues that will be addressed through the LRCC.

"Literacy is the undeniable cornerstone for success in schools and for future contributions to national and state economies, and these issues are the basis for the contemporary public and political outcry to reform schools," Persichitte says. "School reform cannot occur without reaching out to the teachers and other school personnel to support them in improved instructional practice. It is through the continued research around literacy education that we identify new instructional strategies and best practices to share with pre-service and in-service teachers."

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