- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - The renovation of the Arena Auditorium at the University of Wyoming is being scaled back because of a lack of money.

Last week, members of the UW Board of Trustees heard a report about the project’s progress.

The renovations were slated to be built in two parts. Phase one was completed and unveiled last fall, with a redesigned court and seating area.

Phase two was set to renovate the bathrooms and concessions along the concourse, add a club area and create a grand entryway on the east stretch from the Willett Drive east entrance to the War Memorial Stadium entrance, across from the Rochelle Athletic Center.

“What was originally envisioned for phase two greatly exceeded the budget,” Trustees Facilities Committee member John McKinley said.

To fit within the roughly $17.2 million remaining in funds, the club area will likely be eliminated along with a shrunken east entrance, said Bill Sparks, senior associate athletic director.

“Going into a new redesign, we don’t know what the exact final look’s going to be, but it looks like (the east) entryway is going to have to be centered rather than covering the entire eastern side,” he said.

Regardless of size, the entryway will have a Kenny Sailors statue as its centerpiece along with a UW Hall of Fame integrated into the room.

But a proposed club area for food and drinks before a game or during halftime was cut from the current design, the Laramie Boomerang reported (https://bit.ly/1EQmR1X).

“I think we would certainly, at some point of time, revisit the club area for the basketball arena,” Sparks said.

New and improved restrooms and renovated concessions for fans will remain part of the project.

“Our intent and focus has been the amenities that contribute to the masses who come to the games,” Sparks said. “We want them to have the best experiences they can.”

New men’s and women’s bathrooms should be added. A commissary area for concessions is also in the plans, allowing for the sale of hamburgers and chicken sandwiches.

Construction could start in about a year, Sparks said, if the approvals and reviews are passed on deadline.

Fans will likely be inconvenienced by construction during the 2015-2016 basketball season.

UW trustees also heard a report on construction of the Science Initiative building. A planning study for a building - to be completed by GSG Architecture of Casper in association with Perkins and Will of Seattle - is slated to examine space requirements, floor plans, construction budget and a building site.

Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Greg Brown listed four possible sites in a previous interview.

One site is the plaza behind the Classroom Building, between the Physical and Biological sciences buildings. Another is behind the Agriculture building near the south side of Lewis Street. An area across the street to the west of the under-construction Michael B. Enzi STEM Building and a parking lot, which sits atop the old Ivinson Hospital, are also under consideration, Brown said.

Initial planning could take up to six months, Brown said, but no time table has been set.


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

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