By Associated Press - Saturday, January 11, 2020

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - The University of Wyoming has requested $12 million from the state to fund more than half of a renovation and expansion project for its College of Law.

The law school project did not make it into the university’s formal request vetted by the State Construction Department and Republican Gov. Mark Gordon’s office last year before going to the Legislature in December, Laramie Boomerang reported Friday.

“We were designing the facility and didn’t know the cost of the facility over the summer,” Dean Klint Alexander told the Joint Appropriations Committee on Friday. “We did not want to come before you when we didn’t know what the cost was going to be, and that process played out between May and August 2019.”

The exterior design was approved in September after private fundraising began in November 2018, officials said.

Since that time, $5 million has been pledged and university officials expect another $1 million to be raised before the scheduled October construction date, Alexander said.

The project is designed to add about 19,000 square feet (1,765 square meters) and upgrade about 23,000 square feet (2,140 square meters) of existing space in order to fit multiple clinics into the building, officials said. The school’s current clinics provide $3.5 million of free legal services each year and that could increase with better facilities, Alexander said.

University officials would approve funding for the rest of the project if the state approves the request, officials said. The project is expected to be completed within 18 months if it starts on time, but if its delayed the cost could increase by about $2 million each year, officials said.

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