UW Trustees Take Action on Construction Projects

January 18, 2013

Wyoming firms have been chosen to provide architect/engineering services for a major upgrade of College of Engineering and Applied Science facilities at the University of Wyoming.

The UW Board of Trustees today (Friday) authorized a contract with Malone Belton Abel P.C. of Laramie and GSG Architecture P.C. of Casper, in association with Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects of Seattle.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science project, expected to be the largest in UW’s history, will consist of two parts: construction of a new Energy Engineering Research Facility (EERF), and a major renovation and expansion of the Engineering Building near the heart of the UW campus.

The trustees voted to locate the EERF at a site near UW’s Central Energy Plant and the Regulated Materials Management Center at 19th Street and the Gibbon Street extension on the east end of campus.

The EERF project is funded by a $15 million appropriation from the Wyoming State Legislature, matched by $15 million in private donations. Construction could begin in the fall of 2014, with completion by the spring of 2016. It’s expected to contain about 81,000 square feet with large-scale, flexibly configured research laboratories, offices and meeting areas.

The EERF project is expected to begin and be completed before the Engineering Building renovation and expansion in part because the EERF is a simpler structure, and because funding is expected to be secured earlier.

Both the EERF and the Engineering Building projects are tied to the work of the Governor’s Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force, which recently released its strategy for creating a “Tier 1” engineering program at UW. The task force met with the trustees this afternoon.

Also today, the Board of Trustees approved guaranteed maximum prices for the renovation and expansion of Half Acre Gym into the Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center, and for renovation of the Biological Sciences Building. That will allow contractors on both projects to begin bidding the materials and subcontracts immediately while construction documents are being completed for the anticipated start of construction in March.

The guaranteed maximum price for the Half Acre project, offered by contractor Groathouse Construction of Laramie and approved by the trustees, is $19.8 million. Plans call for remodeling the existing 99,300-square-foot building, which dates to 1925, and adding about 35,000 square feet. Among the planned improvements are academic spaces; an updated theater and dance studio; four new racquetball courts with glass back walls for observation and instruction; expanded Outdoor Program space with a 35-foot-tall pinnacle wall; expanded cardiovascular exercise and weight training areas; new locker rooms; and, in addition to the traditional wood-floor court of Half Acre, a new multi-activity court gymnasium.

The project’s total cost is estimated at $27 million, including furnishings and equipment. The Wyoming State Legislature appropriated $15 million for the work, with $12 million coming from student fees. The Associated Students of UW backed the fee increase and lobbied the Legislature in support of the project. The architect/engineering firm of Tobin & Associates of Cheyenne, in association with Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative of Denver, is designing the improvements.

The guaranteed maximum price for Biological Sciences Building improvements is $7.5 million. Independent Heating and Sheetmetal of Laramie is the construction manager, and Dale Buckingham Architects of Sheridan is the architect and engineer. The project, funded with major maintenance dollars and federal mineral royalties, will include replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in the 44-year-old building. Total cost, including furnishings and equipment, is estimated at $10 million.

Also today, the board selected TDSi of Cheyenne, in association with Ratio Architects of Indianapolis, to provide architect/engineering services for the Indoor Golf Practice Facility at Jacoby Golf Course. The $1.2 million project is being funded through private donations.

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