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Work will begin soon on the final piece of a major project to upgrade University of Wyoming residence halls to meet the needs of today's college students.
Renovation of White Hall, a 12-story facility constructed in 1967, will cap close to a decade of work to improve UW housing to be competitive with other universities and responsive to student expectations, along with making needed safety improvements.
The UW Board of Trustees voted Friday to allow work to begin this month on the White Hall project, starting with asbestos removal and abatement. The total project - which will include new carpet, inviting lounge space, computer labs, study rooms, new furnishings and lights, and new fire suppression systems - is scheduled for completion before the start of 2013 fall semester classes.
The White Hall improvements are projected to cost up to $12 million. Funding will come from a $10 million revenue bond issue authorized by the 2012 Wyoming State Legislature. In addition, $4 million in UW Residence Life and Dining Services reserves will cap off the project and support improvements at other residence halls that couldn't be accommodated in earlier projects.
Trustees approved Sampson Construction of Cheyenne as general contractor for the White Hall project. GSG Architecture of Casper provided the design and construction documents.
In order to allow asbestos abatement to begin this month, trustees voted Friday to allow university funds to be expended before the bond proceeds are available later this year. A similar reimbursement resolution was approved by UW trustees in 2001 for the first phase of the residence hall improvements: renovation of the Washakie Center food service facility. Since then, three other residence halls - McIntyre, Orr and Downey halls - have been renovated.
The $10 million bond issue for White Hall is one of three authorized by the Legislature for the university this year. UW trustees also are scheduled to vote in July on a proposed $12.2 million bond issue for renovation and expansion of the Performing Arts Building, and $12 million for renovation and construction of the Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center. Lawmakers also appropriated $14.2 million for the Performing Arts Building and $15 million for the Half Acre project.
UW trustees on Friday took two other actions to prepare for additional building projects.
To allow for construction of the Michael B. Enzi STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) facility, trustees voted to offer, for sale, three buildings north of Lewis Street between 10th and 11th streets. The buildings will be removed by this fall to allow time to prepare the site for construction, which is anticipated to begin in March 2013.
Also, a UW-owned greenhouse at the corner of 22nd Street and Grand Avenue will be offered for sale and removal to help pave the way for construction of UW's planned Gateway Center. The greenhouse and three other buildings on the site of the former U.S. Forest Service Research Station were transferred to UW ownership in 2005, and they must be removed to allow for construction of the Gateway Center.