The University of Wyoming Arena-Auditorium welcomed fans and visiting basketball teams this past season with a new court and updated seating. Now, a delayed second part of the renovation might soon be realized.
The original design, created about three years ago, was scrapped.
The first phase of the renovation — focusing on updating the basketball floor and seating — went over budget, leaving less funding for phase two.
The redesign process has taken about seven months, said Tom Burman, UW athletics director. The first alternate concept was not well received by people around campus, leading to the current design.
The new design, presented to the UW Board of Trustees during a Wednesday meeting in Cheyenne, is now heading toward finalization and possible approval during an upcoming Trustee’s meeting in August.
An architectural advisory group — comprised of one trustee, one member of the community and one legislator at large — reviewed the past several concepts of the façade of the Arena-Auditorium.
The majority consensus of the group was a design featuring a series of Roman-esque sandstone arches.
“It protrudes from the (Arena-Auditorium), so it clearly is the main entrance from the A-A,” said Trustee Mike Massie.
In an earlier design, the entrance was mostly a glass wall, but was changed to keep with a common theme in most other UW buildings.
“The purpose for the façade is to deal with the criticism that there wasn’t really enough of the UW traditional architecture in the original drawing,” Massie said. “The historic preservation plan — although in draft form, but we’re referring to it quite a bit — indicated that three needed to be that connection back to the main campus.”
The historic preservation plan is implemented in sectors around the main campus — the closer a building is to Prexy’s Pasture, the more it has to fit in with the historic nature of the surrounding facilities, such as sandstone.
A glass roof would connect it to the Arena-Auditorium, along with glass walls along the sides. Windows would also fill the areas in the arches, with entrances in each of the glass walls, Burman said.
A large glass column would protrude above the arches and would feature a Kenny Sailors statue.
“The centerpiece of that is where we will house the Kenny Sailors statue, and it will be in a large glass box,” Burman said. “While the (statue) design has not been finalized, it will be in the neighborhood of 14-16 feet tall from the top of the basketball — he’ll be shooting the jump shot — to the base. It’s going to be a wonderful honor to Kenny Sailors.”
Interactive displays and a hall of fame in the design would also showcase the history of University of Wyoming athletics.
However, the design might lead to parking problems. A row of disability parking spaces along the east side of the Arena-Auditorium would be eliminated by the entrance and landscaping.
Replacing the disability parking elsewhere in the area has not been decided.
A new entrance is not the only part of the upcoming renovation, Burman emphasized.
“We’re still doing a whole bunch of concourse work, restroom work, concession work,” he said. “We’re upgrading all of that. Those are the things we get the most complaints about.”
The Trustees could approve the design during an August meeting.
“We are going to start construction as soon as the season ends in March, and it’ll probably run for 18 months,” Burman said.