CHEYENNE - University of Wyoming officials will get appraisals of two homes and an apartment building located just north of the Laramie campus in an attempt to purchase the properties to provide space for future expansion.
On Saturday, trustees approved a request authorizing UW officials to move ahead with appraisals and try to buy the properties.
The homes and apartment building are north of the existing campus on Lewis and North 13th streets.
But the property owners must be willing to sell, Elizabeth Hardin, UW's vice president of administration said.
The university would like to buy the properties, she said.
"The homeowners may choose not to sell," Hardin said.
UW will build a $16 million anthropology building on land it owns at the corner of 12th and Lewis streets. The land is now a parking lot next to the properties in question. The Legislature gave UW bonding authority for the project.
Hardin said the new anthropology building can be completed without buying the additional three properties.
UW would own the entire block bordered by Lewis, Bradley, 12th and 13th streets after buying the three properties, information in a UW board packet said.
There is interest in the land because university leaders think the core campus area eventually will expand toward the north, Trustee Jim Spicer said.
He said the trustees' action authorizes UW employees to buy the properties if they can work out appraisals suitable to the sellers. The appraisals also have to meet state statutes.
"We'd like to slowly acquire all those properties in the block between Lewis and Bradley (streets) so we can eventually start expanding the campus that way," Spicer said.
Adeline Backer, 87, has lived in one of the homes since 1953. Her husband built the tidy five-bedroom home. Moving would be too hard on her and she is not interested in doing so, she said. "It's going to be a lot of work and lot of expense I can't afford."
She's skeptical about whether she would be pressured to move. She'd like to find out how much the actual appraisal would be.
She said she won't like it when the new building is done because the area will be crowded. "So what do you do?" she asked. She said she will wait and see what happens.
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