$105M Project Expands University of Wyoming

📅   Wed August 02, 2017 - West Edition #16
Chuck Harvey


The largest construction project in the University of Wyoming’s history is under way. 
(University of Wyoming photo)
The largest construction project in the University of Wyoming’s history is under way. (University of Wyoming photo)
The largest construction project in the University of Wyoming’s history is under way. 
(University of Wyoming photo) Walls are going up on a $105 million, 100,000-sq.-ft. Engineering Education and Research Building at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo.
(University of Wyoming photo)
In January, workers began work on footing, foundations and concrete walls.
(University of Wyoming photo) Funding for the work is provided through state funding and private donations. 
(University of Wyoming photo) The building exterior is being constructed primarily of concrete and steel. The veneer is natural stone and glazing.
(University of Wyoming photo)
Private support has surpassed an initial $5 million goal, but fundraising continues with naming opportunities within the facility.
(University of Wyoming photo) The building is designed to meet LEED Silver certification.
(University of Wyoming photo)

Walls are going up on a $105 million, 100,000-sq.-ft. Engineering Education and Research Building at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo.

It is the largest construction project in the university's history.

“The university has made real progress toward a Tier-1 College of Engineering and Applied Science and I wholeheartedly support their efforts,” Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said when workers broke ground on the project in early October 2016. “This new building is key to achieving that status. University of Wyoming will have a world-class learning environment for students and faculty.”

The project is expected to be completed in spring of 2019.

Standing four stories tall, the new engineering facility will be located on the north end of the University of Wyoming campus near 11th and Lewis streets, across Lewis from the existing Engineering Building.

Walls Up

Concrete low and high walls are being placed.

Construction activities include placement of “No parking” signs on the east side of 12th Street for the duration of the project.

In January, workers began work on footing, foundations and concrete walls.

Heavy equipment on site includes telehandlers (also known as telescope handers), concrete trucks, concrete pump trucks and reinforcing delivery trucks. The project will require about 7,700 cu. yds. of concrete and 1,250 tons of steel.

GE Johnson Construction of Jackson, Wyo., is construction manager at risk and prime contractor for the project. Melone Belton Able P.C. /Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP designed the building.

Major subcontractors include GW Mechanical of Mills, Wyo.; Casper Electric of Casper; Soderberg Masonry of Fort Collins, Colo.; Midwest Steel of Detroit; and Glass Masters of Cheyenne, Wyo. Between 20 and 30 workers are on duty at the project site each day.

Funding for the work is provided through state funding and private donations. Private support has surpassed an initial $5 million goal, but fundraising continues with naming opportunities within the facility.

Open Interior Design

“There are large open laboratories designed to promote collisions and collaboration between faculty and students,” said Chad Baldwin, the university's associate vice president for communications and marketing. “The building houses a maker's space that is focused on innovation, allowing a project to go from coursework to the marketplace.”

Large windows are part of the plan.

“There is a significant amount of day-lighting planned into all the spaces within the building,” Baldwin said.

The building exterior is being constructed primarily of concrete and steel. The veneer is natural stone and glazing.

The building is designed to meet LEED Silver certification. Energy efficient features include a Konvekta high-performance energy recovery system and a water-based heating and cooling system that utilizes hot or chilled water.

The new building sits on one city block. It abuts university buildings to the south, east and west and residential properties to the north.

The site is secured with a 6-ft. chain link fence.

Major Initiative

The Engineering Education and Research Building project is part of the University of Wyoming's Tier-1 Engineering Initiative. A Tier-1 college is a nationally recognized institution of academic excellence and world-class research.

“The Engineering Education and Research Building is an important component of strategically advancing engineering at the University of Wyoming,” Laurie Nichols university president said at the groundbreaking.

The facility will include reconfigurable research laboratories; active-learning classrooms; an active-learning wet laboratory; a drilling and completions simulation laboratory; an advanced manufacturing laboratory; student project spaces; a student innovation center; a student entrepreneurship center; informal collaboration spaces; and meeting rooms.

The facility is designed to be flexible, with space that can be re-programmed without major renovation. It is built for collaboration with space for student interaction and to support collaborative research teams.

It will bring the sciences at all levels closer together. Its proximity to the Michael B. Enzi STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Facility, the Department of Geology and Geophysics and the Energy Innovation Center integrates engineering faculty, students and laboratories into undergraduate science education, the geosciences and the School of Energy Resources.

The Tier-1 Engineering Initiative and the Engineering Education and Research Building were prompted by the work of the Wyoming Governor's Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force. Gov. Mead created the task force in 2012 to address the Legislature's charge “to lead the university toward a Tier-1 academic and research institution in areas of excellence appropriate for Wyoming.”

The goals of the Tier-1 Engineering Initiative are to elevate University of Wyoming's College of Engineering and Applied Science to national prominence in undergraduate and graduate education and in select areas of research, and to significantly enhance economic development in Wyoming.

Progress already has been made toward achieving the goals of the initiative. Enrollment in the college has increased 15.8 percent over the last two academic years.

CEG