UW Breaks Ground on Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center

October 12, 2012
Artist concept for Gateway Center
An artist’s rendering of the University of Wyoming’s planned Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center.

The University of Wyoming broke ground Saturday on the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center, a dramatic state-of-the-art welcoming center that, among other things, will launch students into successful lives through recruiting and networking opportunities.

The planned center will be located at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 22nd Street in Laramie, near War Memorial Stadium.

The Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center is funded completely through private support -- including historical gifts from philanthropists Marian Rochelle ($10 million) and Mick and Susie McMurry ($6 million) -- as well as UW Foundation reserve dollars.

“The generosity of the Rochelle and McMurry families is extraordinary,” says Dave Bostrom, president of the University Of Wyoming Board Of Trustees. “Their commitment to the University of Wyoming and the state of Wyoming serves as an example to all of us, and shows what it means to give back. Their contribution will be felt by generations of UW students and families. They have heartfelt thanks from me, personally, and the entire University of Wyoming Board of Trustees.”

“UW appreciates all of the donors who have contributed to what promises to be a phenomenal addition to our university community,” says UW President Tom Buchanan. “UW has never had a true ‘front door,’ and this facility promises to be a welcoming state-of-the-art facility for current and prospective students, their families, alumni, donors, industry partners and all guests to this great institution.”

The 60,000-plus-square-foot facility will be a multi-use location with an advanced technological infrastructure, small and large meeting rooms, and public and social event spaces. It will be a place for prospective students and families to enter the university; for gatherings of current students; for alumni to arrive and celebrate the history and traditions of their alma mater; for friends to participate in the university’s programs; and for corporations and organizations to interview and recruit UW students.

“The Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center is the culmination of years of concerted effort on the parts of many people across campus,” says Clayton Hartman, chair of the UW Foundation Board of Directors. “We are proud of the number of amazing UW supporters who stepped forward to make this project a reality.”

“It is rewarding to work with visionary leaders, individuals such as the UW Foundation Board, who truly have a vision for the creation of the university front door that also will be a home for all members of the UW family,” says UW Foundation President Ben Blalock. “This vision has been remarkably supported by generous contributors -- Marian Rochelle and Mick and Susie McMurry have made historic leadership gifts to ensure that this vision will become a reality.”

Surrounded by a dramatic three-story wall of windows, the Gateway Center’s McMurry Family Grand Atrium will proudly welcome visitors as UW’s front door, functioning as the central hub of the Gateway Center. With its wide-open welcoming aesthetics and prominent university displays and exhibits, it will serve as a gathering place and event space for students, alumni, prospective employers, industry leaders, and all of UW’s other internal and external constituencies.

The McMurry Family UW Legacy Hall will be the most visited space in the new building, creating an interactive experience that honors the impact of UW on Wyoming; the renowned alumni and friends who have supported Wyoming's university; and the noteworthy traditions of the institution. It will tell the story of the University of Wyoming -- from the founding in 1886 through its vibrant present and on into the institution’s bright future -- through museum-quality space; and dynamic and flexible visuals, including video and digital displays. Within these spaces, the impact of Wyoming’s energy industry in advancing Wyoming and UW also will be celebrated in a permanent exhibition.

A partnership among the university’s Foundation, the Alumni Association, Admissions and the Center for Advising and Career Services, the project will contain office and collaborative space for these units as they support and promote the university.

“The Gateway Center is going to provide the perfect welcoming location for prospective students, their families, and our alumni; and for UW students to meet with prospective employers,” says Sara Axelson, UW vice president for student affairs. “The entire UW community will benefit by using the space and showcasing their efforts in this ideal location.”

“The University of Wyoming Alumni Association is honored to be invited as a partner in the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center,” says Keener Fry, the association’s executive director. “Our UWAA Board is excited to capitalize on the opportunity to expand a portion of our operations and increase the reach of the UWAA to better serve our alumni, students and UW. Having a prominent presence in the center will open our doors to thousands of alumni, friends, students, prospective students and corporate recruiters who will visit our campus. Finally, the collaboration with Admissions and the Center for Advising and Career Services in this location will help us more effectively meet the career support expectations of our alumni.”  

“We are thrilled to have a modern and professional interview space for these important career conversations between students and the national, regional and Wyoming employers recruiting our graduates,” says Jo Chytka, director of the Center for Career Services and Interim Registrar. “This building also will provide a wonderful space to showcase to prospective students and their families the number and quality of employers that hire UW students.”

Plans for the Gateway Center project began in 2008 as part of the UW Foundation’s strategic plan and the university’s long-range development plan. Planning has since expanded to encompass all of UW’s constituencies within a premier welcoming facility.

In July 2011, President Tom Buchanan and the UW Board of Trustees assembled and charged a facilities planning team to direct and lead the project. Team members include constituents from across campus, UW Foundation Board members Frank Mendicino, Roy Cline, Mari Ann Martin, Greg Dyekman, Chair Clayton Hartman and Vice Chair Scott Neu.

The center is being designed by Cheyenne-based Pappas & Pappas Architects, P.C., and DLR Group, an integrated design firm with offices across the United States. The national branding firm Advent, LLC -- whose high-profile projects include the University of Southern California, University of Texas and Texas Tech -- will design the center’s exhibit and museum spaces. The construction manager at risk is Wyoming- and Colorado-based Haselden Construction.

The university owns the future site of the facility, which now holds a former U.S. Forest Service Research Station. The property was deeded to the university in 2005 and is the current office space for a portion of the UW Foundation’s staff.

Construction is scheduled to begin in late spring 2013, with the facility planned to open in the fall of 2014.

To learn more about the Gateway Center and to see renderings of the building, go to www.uwyo.edu/gatewaycenter.

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