Western Wyoming College, Green River Center

Material Information

Western Wyoming College, Green River Center
Smith, Nancy Van Aken
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
50 leaves in various foliations : illustrations, charts, maps, color photographs, plans ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Campus planning -- Wyoming -- Green River ( lcsh )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master's degree in Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
Nancy Van Aken Smith.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
09206070 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A72 1982 .S635 ( lcc )

Full Text
western Wyoming college green river center
Thesis Master of Architecture University of Colorado at Denver t | Date Due : i 1 *
Nancy Van Aken Smith j 3 ^7 \ \
1982 :
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0. Introduction 0.1
1. Site Analysis 1.1
A. Site Description 1.1
B. Topography 1.5
C. Soils 1.7
D. Water Resources 1.7
E. Vegetation 1.7
F. Utilities 1.8
G. Vehicular Access 1.8
H. Climate 1.9
I. Conclusions 1.15
2. Budget 2.1
3. Time Schedule 3.1
4. Program Outcomes 4.1
A. Introduction 4.1
B. Goals 4.2
C. Facts 4.3
D. Concepts 4.4
E. Needs 4.5
F. Problem Statement Goals & Objectives 4.12
. Code Analysis 5.1

In December, 1981, the voters of Sweetwater County, Wyoming, approved a $44 million bond issue to finance a major expansion of Western Wyoming College. Most of this money will be spent on the main campus in Rock Springs, but a few million dollars have been set aside to build an educational outreach center in the nearby town of Green River. The Green River Center will be a building of approximately 30,000 square feet on a site in a canyon overlooking the town.
Green River and Rock Springs are located in a geologically unique area known locally as "the trona patch". Trona is a mineral mined deep below the surface and processed locally into soda ash, which in turn is used to make many products, including baking soda and glass. The economy of Sweetwater County depends on trona and soda ash; a third of the county's work force is employed in mining and six of the county's top seven employers are in the soda ash business. Until the current recession began, the trona patch was flourishing. The population of Green River, which grew at a rate of two percent per decade previous to 1970, jumped from 4,196 to 12,785 between 1970 and 1980. (Although 1982 has been a bad year, all indications point to a continued high growth rate once the economy improves). The average annual earnings of a trona miner are over $28,000.
What this adds up to is a good market for a community college. There isn't much to do in Green River, especially for a miner's wife. This exDlains why the current limited offerings of Western Wyoming College's Green River continuing education program have been so well received. Its evening classes in things like needlework, painting, barbecuing and hunting safety, held at the high school, fill up rapidly with adult students. Given this good track record, it is easy to see why the College plans to attract a population of 900 students after the Green River Center is built.
Due to the high growth rate Sweetwater County has experienced recently, the college administration has expectations of high future growth. As they see it, this is just Phase One for the Green River Center; Phase Two is planned for sometime in the 1990's, when the student population is predicted to reach 1800. These expectations don't appear to be based on reality, however. It's hard to image that demand for continuing education classes could ever increase enough to justify a second bond issue while the voters are still paying off the first. As it is, the 1981 bond issue passed by a very narrow margin. It therefore seems logical to ignore Phase Two for the purposes of this project.
In the future, the Center's offerings will probably continue to concentrate on non-credit "leisure enrichment" courses, although the College would like to see more strictly academic courses taught also. The second major component of the academic program is the Right to Read program, a federally-funded adult-literacy program which currently operates out of a mobile home downtown. This program serves a unique clientele; recent immigrants learning English as a second language, people studying for a high school equivalency diploma, and some natives who reached adulthood without learning to read. This program involves volunteer teachers in one-on-one learning situations. Students and potential students are very easily intimidated, so it is essential that the Center maintains a low-key, friendly image.

Early in 1982, the college administration hired College Planning Associates to design both the Rock Springs campus and the Green River Center. CPA is a joint venture among Anderson Architects of Denver, the BKLH Group of Denver, and Sasaki and Associates of Watertown, Massachusetts.

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The site is situated where the Green River valley floor merges with the higher plateau region. Several canyons intersect with the valley above the town, and the site is located in one of these. The west and south and east portions of the site consist of vertical bedrock bluffs with the lower sloDe buried by talus from the eroding bluffs. Grades in these slopes are generally 30-60%. The north central portion of the site lies in a gently sloping alluvial fan, deposited in the past during a period of wetter climate. The side slooes seem stable, although large boulders have fallen from the outcroos. There is no longer a defined stream channel flowing out the the canyon.

The west, south, and east portions of the site consist of shale, marlstone, limestone and sandstone. The floor of the canyon is sandy loam. Depth to bedrock in the canyon floor is assumed to be six feet. Expansive soils are not a problem.
The percolation rate is 10 to 30 minutes per inch. The soil should be suitable for on-site sewage disposal.
The water table is relatively low. Ground water in the area is generally of poor quality, partially due to the high soluble sulfate content of the soil. The high' salinity of the ground water may make it unusable for irrigation of landscaping plants.
Very few plants can survive the harsh climate of the site. Sage and rabbitbrush are predominant. There is currently only one Diant on the entire site more than 18 inches high. Damage to the plant community is slow to mend and may escalate erosion and destabilization which can take decades to reestablish with vegetation cover.
The optimal landscaping strategy for this site would be to drop the building in from a helicopter in order to avoid tearing up the existing vegetation. However, since construction will inevitably tear ud much of the veoe-tation, it will have to be replaced. Introduced plant species and sod will require large amounts of irrigation and maintenance. But it will also be difficult to reintroduce native plants. The best approach would be to minimize the amount of introduced planting, while maximizing its oositive psychological impact through thoughtful design and placement. The rest of the camDus would have to be protected from pedestrian traffic in order to give the native plants a chance to come back.

The water supply line, the sanitary sewer line, the gas line, and the telephone and electric lines all run along Hitchina Post Drive. With the exception of the sanitary sewer, all utilities have excess capacity to meet the needs of the Green River Center. The Droblem with the sewer is that the sewage treatment plant down on the river is reaching its capacity. For this reason the city would like to have the college treat and dispose of its sewage on site. However, this is not absolutely imperative.
The city will be building a new road into the site from Hitching Post Drive. This road will be an extension of Upland Way and will eventually extend across the city-owned land to State Route 530. It will be 40 feet wide from curb to curb.
CPA estimates that the peak traffic flow into the camous will occur between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. and should amount to 175 cars enterina the oarkina lots during that hour. The parking lots should be designed to accomodate 274 cars, according to CPA.

The climate of Green River is faily similar to that of Denver. The humidity is Quite low, causing a large diurnal swing in temperature. Winters are cold, but sunshine is abundant. However, it is to be noted that Green River experiences more wind and less precipitation than does Denver.
Heating Degree Days
Cooling Degree Days
January 1438 0
February 1151 0
March 1054 0
April 678 0
May 391 0
June 164 26
July 13 125
August 46 86
September 268 16
October 605 0
November 1002 0
December 1327 0
Annual 8137 253
This reflects a heating requirement which is 43% greater than that in Denver.


Green River receives a mere 7.74 inches of rain per year.

Green River is a windy place. Strong steady winds have a negative impact on human comfort, especially during the colder months of the year. However, the site, which is located on the western slope of the Green River Valley, is somewhat protected from the strongest winds, which come from the west and southwest during the winter. Fairly strong spring winds out of the east northeast will have an impact on the site. Downflowing cool air at night and upflowing warm air in the afternoon will create localized breezes in the canyon itself.

Solar Radiation
Green River receives nearly as much solar radiation as does Denver. The following table shows the amount of solar radiation, measured in BTU's, which falls on one square foot of horizontal surface on one average day during each month of the year. It also shows the percentage of clear sky.
BTU/sq. ft./day Clear
January 735 60
February 1089 60
March 1530 60
April 1944 60
May 2344 70
June 2574 70
July 2547 70
August 2240 70
September 1833 70
October 1306 70
November 826 60
December 651 60
Annual Average 1635 66

The next table gives solar altitudes and azimuths for the approximate latitude of Green River, 42 degrees north latitude.
solar time Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
am pm 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21
alt C 7 3 5 3
azi D 115 117 115
alt CL CL 8 13 15 14 8
azi O D 99 105 108 106 99
alt 7 C 4 11 19 24 26 25 19 11 4
azi D 72 80 89 96 99 96 89 80 72
alt 8 A 7 14 22 30 35 37 36 30 22 14 7 4
azi 55 61 69 78 86 89 86 79 69 61 55 53
alt Q 15 23 32 40 46 48 47 41 32 23 16 12
azi 44 49 56 66 74 78 75 66 56 49 44 42
alt 10 22 30 40 50 56 59 57 50 40 31 22 19
azi 30 35 41 50 58 63 59 50 41 35 31 29
alt 11 26 35 46 57 65 68 65 58 46 36 27 23
azi X 16 18 22 28 35 39 35 28 22 18 16 15
alt 12 28 37 48 60 68 71 69 60 48 38 28 25
azi 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

1. The design of the Green River Center should respond to the harshness of the winters, Solar radiation can be used, desoite the fact that the site is on a north facing slope, as the following site sections illustrate.

2. The site receives very little precipitation, making it inhospitable to non-native plant life, unless supplemented by irrigation.
3. Although localized wind conditions may not necessitate the orovision of sheltered walkways between buildings, the extreme cold makes heated passageways a good idea.
4. Sufficient breezes exist to suggest the use of natural ventilation.

As of August, 1982, the anticipated cost of the Center as designed by College Planning Associates is $3,813,000. This amount will have to be trimmed down by $150,000 to $300,000 in order to bring the entire Western Wyoming College project in within its budget.
CPA breaks the total cost down as follows:
Construction $1,979,000
Site/Infrastructure/Landscape 600,000
Furnishings/Fixed Equipment 237,000
A/E Fee & Expenses 278,000
Equipment by Owner 162,000
Surveys & Testing 5,000
Owner's Representatives 53,000
Additional Site Acquisition & Development 500,000
Total $3,813,000
The figure of $1,978,000 for the building itself was arrived at using a cost figure of 70 $/ft2. This includes a 10% contingency fund.
The above cost estimate is valid even though it uses 1982 costs for a building to be built in 1983 and 1984, because the money is already in the college's possession, gathering interest at a rate which keeps pace with inflation.
The most promising strategy for cutting costs would be:
- to save on site acquisition costs by using the existing site more frugally
- to decrease the building square footage from CPA's figure of 28,250 square feet.

The voters of the Rock Springs and Green River area (Sweetwater County) approved the college construction bond issue in December, 1981. Site preparation is due to begin for the Green River Center in March, 1983. Building construction will begin in May, 1983. The building will be ready for occupancy in September, 1984.

In late April 1982, College Planning Associates held a programming squatters session in Rock Springs and Green River, following the method described in Pena's book Problem Seeking. The following enumeration of goals, facts, concepts and needs is the result of that squatters session, focussing on interviews with the two women who currently run the Green River continuing education program and with the women who run the Right to Read program.
One underlying assumption is that although the Center will offer more standard academic courses in the future, its emphasis will continue to be on non-credit evening courses. It is anticipated that 75% of its students will attend classes in the evenings, between 7 and 10 p.m. with remaining 25% spread between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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The primary Goals of the Green River Center are: To complement rather than compete with the Rock Springs campus. It should concentrate on offering non-credit courses because students looking for a more strictly academic program can easily get to Rock Springs.
The Center should serve as a community center for social gatherings and general community use as well as a home for educational programs.
The Center should appear open, accessible and friendly. It should not have an institutional image.
This is a perfect opportunity to give the people of Green River a community building to which they can point with pride. The Center should be a landmark sitting up above the town, with a distinctive appearance when viewed from the highway.
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Facts which must be taken into account in the design of the Center are relatively clear.
The main bulk of courses offered at Green River are of a non-credit "leisure enrichment" nature (cooking, painting, crafts, hunting safety, rifle reloading, sewing, etc.) rather than purely academic.
The Right to Read Academy will be incorporated into the new Green River Center. Its offerings include GED preparation, English as a Second Language, as well as basic reading.
The program relies heavily on volunteer teachers for one-to-one instruction.
The town of Green River currently has no bookstore and no copy center open to the public. Its existing community center facilities are inadequate to meet existing and future needs.
Many students live between Rock Springs and Green River and can go to either campus for different things.
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"Multi-purpose" was a Concept mentioned often in Green River. The Center needs a large multi-purpose room which can be used for cooking and sewing classes, social gatherings, community events with audiences of 100-150 people, and spillover from the administrative offices during registration. It should be finished with "quality" materials and contain a fireplace. Classrooms should also be multi-purpose, and should range in size from very small (3 to 5 students) to a lecture hall with tiered seating for 150 people.
The focus should be on serving the real needs of the Green River clientele. What is really needed is a bookstore, rather than a library.
The Green River "library" might be a bookmobile extension of the Rock Springs library, with computer links to the University of Wyoming.
Although there will be a new recreation down the street, it would be nice to have a recreation facility at the Center itself. This facility should be coordinated with the one down the street so each can share space with the other.
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Because there is no WWC existing facility in Green River,1 Needs have evolved entirely out of the on-site discussions involving College personnel and the citizens and officials of Green River. The needs are thus expressed on the table on the following page.

1. bookstore/library
a. sells course books, trade books & supplies
b. "library" consists of computer link to Rock Springs campus
c. small intimate library for Right to Read students
2. lecture hall w/stage
a. tiered seating for 150
b. stage w/ sprung floor large enough to be used as dance studio
3. lobby/multi-purpose area
a. finished w/ quality materials; homey feeling; maybe a fireplace; comfortable chairs
b. opens to administrative area for use in registration sessions
c. used for needlework classes
4. kitchen
a. for fixing refreshments for activities in multi-purpose room
b. for cooking classes
c. adjacent to multi-purpose area
1000 sq. ft.
2^00 so. ft.
550 sq. ft.
150 so. ft.

5. small classrooms/seminar rooms
a. for 1-10 students
b. day!it
c. 6 @ 120 sq. ft.
6. medium classrooms
a. for 5-20 students
b. daylit
c. 3 @ 240 sq. ft.
7. large classrooms
a. for 15-25 students
b. daylit
c. 30 600 sq. ft.
8. learning lab
a. CRT stations linked to computers on Rock Springs and Laramie campuses
b. mixture of closed study rooms and open space w/ carrels
c. spaces for one-on-one instruction
d. welcoming atmosphere
9. lounge for Right to Read students
a. home base for Right to Read students.
b. psychologically separate from classrooms
720 sq. ft.
720 sq. ft.
1800 sq. ft.
700 sq. ft.
150 sq. ft.

10. storage
11. science classroom/lab
a. locked storage room
b. slate countertops w/sinks, gas outlets
12. conference foom
a. for faculty meetings
b. for student meetings
c. for classes
13. gallery/display area
a. open area w/ high visibility
b. serves as lobby for lecture hall
c. close to main entry
14. photography classroom
a. separate darkroom w/ 3 or 4 work stations and more than one sink
b. classroom area to accomodate 20 students
c. not a shooting studio
15. crafts studio
a. no special equipment
b. lots of tables
c. storage for bulky projects
300 sa. ft. 800 sq. ft.
250 sq. ft.
450 sq. ft.
400 sq. ft.
600 sq. ft.

16. arts /crafts studio 600 sq, ft.
a. lots of tables
b. sinks
c. daylit from north
d. storage for bulky projects and large flat artwork
17. small music practice rooms 200 sq, ft.
a. soundproof
b. 4 0 50 sq. ft.
18. piano practice room 100 so. ft.
a. soundproof
19. director's office a. daylit
200 so. ft.
20. administrative offices
a. 30 100 sq. ft.
b. daylit
21. faculty offices
a. 80 100 sq. ft.
b. daylit
22. storage
a. in administrative area
23. copy center
a. close to lobby
b. for public use
c. for administrative use
d. for faculty use
e. for student use
300 sq, ft.
800 sq. ft.
120 so. ft.
300 sq. ft,

24. snack bar
a. vending machines
b. eating area
c. comfortable w/ nice low lighting levels
25. child care center
a. access to outdoor play
b. to accomodate large numbers of kids
c. primary purpose is to provide care for children of students; not seen as teacher training facility
26. recreation facility
a. multi-purpose facility for things like exercise classes, gymnastics, weight lifting, children's games
b. no fixed equipment
27. shower/dressing rooms
a. larger area for women than for men
b. adjacent to gym and also to dance studio on stage of lecture hall.
28. vo tech/rugged use area
a. concrete floor w/ drains
b. large overhead doors
c. used by college maintenance people as well as classes
120 so. ft.
1350 sq. ft.
3000 sq. ft.
240 sq. ft.
1200 sq. ft.

total assignable square feet total gross square feet O 70% efficiency total building cost @ 70$/sq. ft. total gross square feet 0 75% efficiency total building cost
19,620 sq. ft. 28,030 so. ft.
26,160 sq. ft.
234 student spaces 30 faculty/guest spaces
26^ Darking spaces

Problem Statement
If done right, the Green River Center can mean a lot to the city of Green River. It should be designed as a community center for the city as well as an educational facility. It should be a piece of architecture to which the citizens can point with pride, drawing the eye of a visitor to the city up from the valley to the magnificence of the bluffs which ring the city.

The construction of the building will conform to the 1979 Uniform Building Code. For such purposes it is regarded as a Group A Division 2 building. If the building is divided into separate buildings by area separation walls or other means, only that building which contains the lecture hall must conform to Group A Division 2 requirements. The building containing the child care center would be regarded as Group E Division 3. If both the lecture hall and the child care center can be isolated, the building need only conform to the requirements of Group B Division 2. The following table compares the three classifications:
Group A Division 2
Group E Division 3
Group B Division 2
Fire Resistance of Exterior Walls
2 hrs less than 10 ft. 1 hr elsewhere
2 hrs less than 5 ft. 1 hr less than 10 ft.
Openings in Exterior Walls
not less than 5 ft. wide protected if less than 10 ft.___________________
not less than 5 ft. wide protected if less than 10 ft.
1 hr less than 20 ft. not less than 5 ft. wide
protected if less than 10 ft.
If the buildings are actually separate, they may be connected by arcades, provided the arcades are of 1-hour construction, and provided there are fire doors between the building and the arcade.
If area separation walls are used, they must be of 4-hour construction if they need to conform to Type II F.R., Type III or Type IV construction. If the building is of Type II 1-hour construction, a 2-hour wall will suffice. Unless the roof is of 2-hour construction or the area separation walls are 2-hour and the roof is 1-hour, the walls must extend 30 inches above the roof.
If none of the separated buildings contain more than 13,500 square feet, construction need only by Type II 1-hour, Type III 1-hour, or Type IV heavy timber.
Conclusion: it would be smart to divide the building into at least three separate wings of no more than 13,500 square feet each, with the lecture hall and the child care center isolated.
Other highlights from the code include:
- The lecture hall building must front directly upon or have a 20 foot right of way access route to a public street. The main entrance to the building must front on this access way.
- Ventilation of occupied areas must be provided naturally through open-able exterior openings with an area not less than 1/20 of the floor area, or mechanically at a rate of 15 CFM per occupant.

If flammable liquids are stored in the vo tech area, they must be enclosed in a storage area by a 4-hour wall.
Stairs and exits must conform to Chapter 33.
Toilet rooms must conform to Section 1711.
The slope of the floor of the lecture hall must not exceed 20%. Seat spacing must conform to Section 3314.





The site which has been set aside for the Green River Center sits in the mouth of a dry canyon on the outskirts of town. The oresent boundaries encompass some 20 acres of land which will be leased on a long term basis from the Bureau of Land Management. However, CPA came to the immediate conclusion that, due to the steep slope of the BLM land, adjacent acreage would have to be acquired. This adjacent land to the north is owned by the city of Green River and by the local school district. Although both the city and the school district are willing to lease additional land to the college, this is prime land for residential development which is quickly encroachina on it, so the city and school district would like to see the college take as little additional land as possible.
The site commands a wonderful view of the valley and the town below it. The site is also prominently visible as one drives into town on Interstate 80. This creates wonderful opportunities as well as constraints for the designer.
The canyon has no buildings in it now. It is used presently as a shooting range for the locals. The major feature (other than bullet-ridden washing machines) is a large rock outcropping at the peak of the bluff on the eastern boundary of the site.
The closest road is Hitching Post Drive, a 40-foot wide collector street 1100 feet to the east. The city is planninq to build a new road into the site from Hitching Post Drive which will also serve the new recreation center to be completed in 1983 on a site between the college site and Hitching Post Drive.
#18 The site as viewed from the mouth of the canyon