A 10-year housing plan in development for the past several months recommends that the University of Wyoming tear down two of its residence halls and heavily renovate the four remaining “traditional towers” on the Laramie campus.
The Casper Star-Tribune reports that if the university's Board of Trustees moves forward with the plan, the total price tag could come to $245.4 million.
The plan is divided into three phases — the first of which involves demolishing Crane and Hill halls and replacing them with suite-style residences. Phase I is estimated to cost $118 million.
“This plan has the potential to dramatically improve our recruitment of students and to improve the quality of the student experience in those buildings,” says Sean Blackburn, Vice President for Student Affairs. “What we don’t have in our current inventory are those more modern suite-style facilities."
Phase II calls for a $40.3 million renovation of two residence halls, and Phase III calls for renovations of two halls, as well as street improvements, costing collectively $38.1 million to $55.4 million.
“The four traditional towers will be a much improved student experience, better lighting, better restrooms, less density, more common space,” Blackburn says. “We’ll bring amenities out of the basement and up onto the floors, so you won’t have to go to the basement to do laundry anymore. There will be more communal kitchens in some of the traditional halls.”
The university paid KSQ Design $290,930 to craft the 108-page Housing Master Plan, which included an extensive study of student opinions on residential options at the university.
“Among the goals of the Master Plan are to create more opportunities for social and co-curricular activities on UW’s campus to provide students alternatives to venturing off-campus for socializing opportunities and to incentivize students to remain in on-campus housing past their freshman year,” the plan states.
Blackburn says more varied housing options will help recruit first-time students—who can already find suite-style housing at competing universities — as well as keep older students in campus housing longer.
Replacing or updating Wyoming's residence halls—each more than 50 years old—will aid in the university’s wider goal of boosting enrollment, Blackburn says.