UW Trustees to Subject 10-Year Housing Plan to Further Examination
The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees moved to accept, but not approve, a 10-year housing plan that recommended the university raze two of its residence halls and heavily renovate the other four during its meeting Thursday.
UW Vice President for Student Affairs Sean Blackburn presented the plan to the trustees Thursday along with David Short and Jamie Callie, principal and associate principals for KSQ Design, respectively and Tom Hier, principal for Biddison Heir, Ltd. The plan, if accepted in its entirety, would have cost the university $245.4 million.
The trustees voted to accept the proposal, which is now subject to further examination by the trustees facilities committee, which would make a recommendation to the board before any final action is taken. By accepting the plan, the university did not make any final approvals and is not required to follow the plan in its entirety and may not spend the full $245.4 million cost of the plan.
Blackburn began the presentation by saying he wanted to underscore how important improving the residence halls has become.
“We are at a strategic disadvantage today in terms of moment and student engagement with our current halls and offerings,” Blackburn said. “That strategic disadvantage is only growing by the day.”
He said aside from student apartment housing, the university has not brought a new residence hall online on campus since 1967.
The recommendations made included creating housing types that were more responsive to the needs of students at different levels - for example sophomores, who need less structure than freshman. It recommended renovating the residence halls to create more living spaces for students to congregate and form lasting bonds- the kind that keep students in school. The housing plan also recommended greater university involvement with Greek national organizations and more involvement in each Greek house’s management structure.
The housing plan outlined a number of different designs for suite-style housing for older students and multiple ways to update the halls to open them up to more social bonding and community-building.
Trustee David True said one issue that concerned him was that the plans for the halls that would replace Crane and Hill halls significantly reduced the parking in that area. He said the trustees needed to look at a parking structure near the Wyoming Union and Coe Library to address the parking shortages.
Blackburn said the university is about to launch a parking master plan to address the issues.