Several University of Wyoming construction projects are continuing as planned into the summer, but the Arena-Auditorium project might experience a slight delay.
UW terminated an agreement with Haselden Construction after pre-construction services and has opened a bidding process for contractors.
“The project would bid in July, and we are hoping for (UW Board of Trustees) approval in July,” UW Project Manager Matt Kibbon said. “That would allow for a start in August. It will be 14 months of construction and be ready for the regular (basketball) season.”
Construction will continue through the 2016-2017 basketball season but only on one portion of the arena.
“The addition wouldn’t impact the ability for fans to get to the basketball games,” he said.
The renovation will add a new entrance area to the northeast corner of the building featuring a statue of former UW basketball player and jump shot inventor Kenny Sailors.
Several concourse areas, such as restrooms and concession stands, are also set for renovation. Updates to the main floor and seating were finished in fall 2014.
Haselden was the original construction manager at risk, Director of Facilities Planning Larry Blake said. This type of construction contract requires the contractor to be much more involved in the process.
“In a (construction manager at risk) process, we select the CMAR based on their qualifications — they also have so submit a proposal for their fees,” he said. “Cost is considered, but it’s mostly based on their qualifications, and then they participate in what is called pre-construction, which is everything up until the construction is actually started.”
Being involved in the entire process allows the contractor to make better cost estimates and input, which could reduce costs in the building process, Blake said.
“Then, when the construction documents are at 90 percent, they give us a guaranteed maximum price,” he said. “By waiting, there is less risk for the CMAR and, accordingly, less risk for the university.”
Also, the construction contractors are paid its maximum prices, even if their costs are higher than expected.
“Even if the bids come in higher, the CMAR — they’re on the hook,” he said.
The High-Bay Research Facility project is using the construction manager at risk process, and its construction also continues, Blake said.
“They’re past 50 percent completion,” he said. “Right now, we expect substantial completion in January of 2017.”
The building is fully enclosed at its location on 19th Street near the UW Central Energy Plant.
“Right now, they’re finishing up drywall on the second floor and doing other interior work,” Blake said.
The building, partially funded by large corporate donations, will allow for specialized researching from select programs on campus, such as professor Mohammad Piri’s work with porous media and liquid flow pertaining to oil and gas recovery and Vladimir Alvarado’s enhanced oil recovery lab.
Specialized equipment, including several CT scanners, will also be installed.
The facility will not house any classrooms, so completion in the middle of the school year is not a problem for UW departments.
UW is also in discussions to purchase the Pi Kappa Alpha and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity houses on campus, which are currently unoccupied.
“We have to have that ground because of its proximity (to UW properties),” Vice President for Administration Bill Mai said. “There are no plans for the property at this point.”
The Pi Beta Phi sorority house is also unoccupied, but UW is working on an agreement to provide basic upkeep and maintenance.
A lease agreement would have the sorority pay for utility and insurance costs.
“We’re not trying to acquire it,” Mai said. “We don’t plan to occupy it, we just don’t want anything bad happening to the house. It’s still Pi Phi’s responsibility.”