The University of Wyoming plans to buy the Pi Beta Phi house on Sorority Row to prevent the unoccupied building from falling into disrepair, a UW representative said.

“You need to have these buildings occupied,” UW Vice President for Administration Bill Mai said. “The university has been taking care of this property for a couple years now in one way or another.”

The UW Board of Trustees discussed the Pi Beta Phi house purchase Wednesday during a teleconference meeting after an executive session. With Trustee Larry Gubbels absent and Trustee Kermit Brown abstaining from the vote, the trustees approved the purchase 10-0.

“I represented Pi Beta Phi,” Brown said. “I turned the account over to a different attorney when I became a trustee.”

Because of his prior affiliation with the sorority and role in drafting a letter regarding the purchase before becoming a trustee, Brown said he abstained from the vote and was not present during the executive session in which the trustees discussed purchasing the house.

“There hasn’t been a chapter in there for quite a while,” Mai said.”They’ve been trying to find a use for the building for a while.”

He said the university’s goal is to have “ultimate control” of all the property on Fraternity and Sorority Row.

“The university could have a number of uses for it,” Mai said.

“Nothing’s decided right now. Our main interest is making sure it doesn’t fall into disrepair.”

To fund additional infrastructure needed for the High Bay Research Facility, the trustees approved the use of about $97,000 from the facilities contingency fund.

“Part of this is a need to exhaust some excess heat that builds up in the mechanical room,” Mai said.

Ceiling work is also needed to facilitate electrical and plumbing hardware running above the ceiling tiles, he said.

The trustees also approved a design contract with Plan One/Architects for a remodel of existing space on the third level of the Physical Sciences Building for a new Gross Anatomy (cadaver) lab. The remodel is slated on behalf of the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) medical program.

“(Plan One/Architects) did the Hilton Garden Inn,” Trustee Jeff Marsh said. “They did a good job.”

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