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Trustees Approve UW Historic Preservation Plan

September 11, 2015
large sandstone building
UW’s College of Arts and Sciences Building, built in the 1930s, exemplifies the classical architectural tradition that the new Historic Preservation Plan aims to preserve. (UW Photo)

A plan aimed at preserving the University of Wyoming’s historical character has been approved by UW’s Board of Trustees.

The board voted today (Friday) to adopt the updated Historic Preservation Plan developed over the past year by The Design Studio Inc. (TDSi) of Cheyenne, in consultation with UW officials, stakeholders and members of the public.

The 600-plus-page document may be viewed at

The plan includes guidelines and policies to maintain the historical character of UW’s buildings and landscapes. Among other things, the plan includes architectural design standards for new and renovated buildings to preserve UW’s classical architectural tradition. Also included are recommendations to preserve UW’s heritage landscapes.

“As the University of Wyoming has grown into a nationally recognized institution of higher learning, the physical character of its campus has acquired a distinctive presence inspired both by national trends and by Wyoming and its landscape,” the plan’s executive summary reads. “This Historic Preservation Plan is a resource and guide to the ongoing stewardship of the historic buildings and landscapes that contribute to the campus’ special character. Embracing the need for growth and change, the plan reaffirms campus guidelines for new construction that express the present, and a vision for the future, while preserving the historic attributes by which the campus is known.”

The plan divides the UW campus into zones, starting with Prexy’s Pasture, the heart of UW’s historic district. The preservation standards are the most stringent in this area. In zones farther away from Prexy’s Pasture, building and landscape guidelines become more flexible, while still preserving UW’s iconic features.

TDSi’s work included assessments of all of the buildings constructed before 1980 on the main campus to identify significant architectural features and themes. The Historic Preservation Plan includes details of those assessments, along with a host of information about the history of UW facilities.

The plan was a collaborative effort between the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office and UW. During development of the plan, TDSi held a number of public meetings to present its findings and solicit input.

Also involved in the plan’s development was a Historic Preservation Plan Advisory Committee composed of Mike Massie, former special assistant to the UW president and current member of the Board of Trustees; Rick Ewig, associate archivist at UW’s American Heritage Center; Tamsen Emerson Hert, head of UW Libraries’ Emmett D. Chisum Special Collections; Mary Hopkins, historic preservation officer with the State Historic Preservation Office; Patty Kessler, instructor at Laramie County Community College; Melissa Robb, historic architecture specialist in the State Historic Preservation Office; state Sen. Chris Rothfuss; and Joe Shumway and Andrea Summerville, Laramie City Council members.

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