- Associated Press - Friday, February 20, 2015

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - The western, historic portion of the University of Wyoming campus should be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to recommendations by a team tasked with reviewing how to preserve, restore and protect historic buildings at UW.

“When buildings are built, they’re always being built in the style of the time,” said Peter Benton, a historical architect from Heritage Strategies, a Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania-based firm offering historic preservation services. “…This is not a regulatory thing. It’s a national honor in accordance with national criteria.”

The team, which consists of Benton, other architects and others, divided the UW campus into several zones. The west campus includes the section of UW property enclosed between ninth and 15th streets and Ivinson to Lewis streets.

“I think this is an important part of the plan in that it reflects the historical building development on campus,” former state Sen. Mike Massie told the Laramie Boomerang (https://bit.ly/1zTdH1Q). “This is logical. It’s a natural extension of your study.”

The group also solidified its recommendations on how to approach a new building project at the university.

“New buildings should have a design review committee that involves members of the public, the campus community as a whole and also user groups,” said Megin Rux, an architect for The Design Studio Inc. in Cheyenne. “We are recommending any new construction in historical zones should include recommendations, input and public forums.”

Randy Byers, The Design Studio’s principal architect, said directly modeling new buildings after older, historic structures is not always the best approach.

“We all have a tendency to romanticize historic buildings, historic preservation and then often times extend that to new construction,” Byers said. “That’s not generally compatible. We have to keep in mind these buildings we hold most dear on Prexy’s were contemporary for their time. I think the balance to be reached on a policy level and design level is to identify and understand what defines the campus character, but encourage innovation and creativity as new development takes place.”

Architects cited the UW College of Business building as a modern structure that effectively integrates historic fabric with contemporary design.

“The more I look at it on the exterior, the more I’m impressed with the quality of design,” Benton said. “People have generally accepted it as a UW building. It’s rather conservative, but still high quality design.”


Information from: Laramie Boomerang, https://www.laramieboomerang.com

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