The future of housing options at the University of Wyoming — and the fate of its aging residence halls — have been placed in the hands of a legislative task force that will provide guidance on revamping campus housing.
The Casper Star-Tribune reports that in the meantime, plans to replace or renovate student housing on the Laramie campus have been put on hold.
The university is looking to replace or revitalize its residence halls, some of which are half a century old and all of which are falling behind the standards set by other colleges.
Two different 10-year housing plans have been commissioned for the Laramie campus since 2015 — one before and one after the state's financial crisis. Both plans called for establishing a range of suite-options and encouraging sophomores and upperclassmen to continue living on campus.
“There is no doubt our students prefer to move off campus after freshman year,” says Sean Blackburn, vice president for student affairs.
But a bill passed this year by the Wyoming Legislature has put those plans on hold. Lawmakers created a task force composed of a group of stakeholders to reexamine university housing.
In January, university administrators presented the most recent housing plan — a $245 million project to tear down and rebuild two residence halls and renovate the remaining four — to the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee.
The task force of legislators, university officials and other appointees will review the housing plan and make recommendations before the 2019 legislative session. The bill creating the task force also imposed a moratorium on demolition or construction of any housing.
The 2017 housing plan, developed by KSQ Design, called for the demolition of just two residence halls — Hill and Crane halls — and the renovation of the remaining four halls.