Contractors are poised to begin construction of the new University of Wyoming Engineering Education and Research Building in October, according to plans outlined during an open meeting Wednesday.
The building’s cost is set for about $105 million and is the largest construction project in UW history.
GE Johnson Construction is the project’s construction manager and will lead the sub-contractors from beginning to end.
Groundbreaking is set for Oct. 7, and construction begins Oct. 17. The current completion date is summer 2019.
Mike Dearth, initial superintendent from GE Johnson Construction, said construction workers will park off-site and bused in to stop congestion in the area and have the least amount of disturbances to close UW buildings and residential homes.
“We’ll keep people away from the adjacent neighborhood,” he said. “We’ll provide a site orientation to all incoming employees. We’ve worked in a lot tighter areas previously and we’ve had no issues. The main thing is letting employees know our expectations and reinforcing rules.”
Deputy Director of Facilities Construction Matt Kibbon said water seepage problems that plagued other building projects shouldn’t be a threat.
“We’ve drilled two monitoring wells and have monitored the water level throughout the summer,” he said.
“(Water level) has maintained a depth of 6 feet below our (building’s foundation).”
An underground drainage system linking to city storm drains is also meant to avoid water problems.
Aesthetically, the new Engineering Building is meant to tie in with other buildings around Prexy’s Pasture, ZGF Architect Associate Partner Corinne Kerr said.
“We wanted to keep the gothic and sandstone design in this facility,” she said. “Inside, we’ve provisioned for the lab spaces to be on the sides and a soft center. All of the student interaction happens in the middle.”
College of Engineering Dean Michael Pishko said the building was designed with flexibility in mind.
“There will be drop-down utilities and will be easily reconfigured to fit different purposes,” he said. “We have moveable furniture so you can rearrange it.”
There will also be shared laboratory space that can be used for various project and collaborations, Pishko said.
“There are also lots of spaces where students can get together and work together and collaborate, for example in the student innovation center, which is our maker’s space,” he said. “We collaborate with the College of Education and the libraries to put this space together. Students will have access to design and fabrication tools.”
With assistance from the Wyoming Technology Business Center, an entrepreneurship space was also integrated into the design, Pishko said.
Effects of University of Wyoming Engineering
Education and Research Building construction
Several streets will have partial closures the entirety of the construction process.
The halves of 11th and 12th streets adjacent to the construction block will be fenced off as well as the southern lane of Bradley Street.
The entirety of the adjacent Lewis Street will be blocked off, although the sidewalk will be kept open for public use.
Connecting utilities can lead to temporary full street closures.
Public notices should be given before every closure.
Trucks hauling materials are set to enter the construction site from east along Bradley Street and exit on Lewis Street, avoiding Ninth Avenue and the Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility.
The lay down area, where some materials are kept before being installed, will be the large open area north of the Agriculture Building.