Laramie, Wyo. (Oct. 29, 2016) -- The University of Wyoming broke ground Saturday on the Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center (HAPC). The HAPC will be one of the preeminent athletic facilities in the country. It will add 71,000 square feet of new space and will expand the current Curtis and Marian Rochelle Athletics Center to over 118,000 square feet.
The HAPC groundbreaking was held on the same day the Wyoming Cowboys hosted the Boise State Broncos in a battle for first place in the Mountain West Conference’s Mountain Division.
“A successful athletics program generates excitement,” Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said in April, when fundraising was announced. “This leads to better student recruitment, better alumni support and stronger schools. I recommended $20 million in matching funds for the expansion and renovation of the Rochelle Athletics Center for these reasons. I thank Marian H. Rochelle for this generous gift and her continued support of the University of Wyoming.”
The project is funded by $24 million in private donations that were raised by UW Athletics and the UW Foundation and $20 million in state matching approved by Gov. Mead and the Legislature. Overwhelming interest by donors—55 total—saw the fundraising efforts completed ahead of schedule. Marian Rochelle and her family donated $3 million as a leadership gift to kick off the project, and the combined gifts of Marian Rochelle and her daughter April Brimmer Kunz have since grown to $4.1 million.
“Mick and Susie McMurry’s generosity and their commitment to making the University of Wyoming a premier university in both athletics and academics will be symbolized by the High Altitude Performance Center that will bear their name,” says Tom Burman, UW athletics director. “We also want to thank Marian Rochelle and April Brimmer Kunz for their generous lead gift for this project. And we of course want to thank Governor Mead and the members of the Wyoming State Legislature for making funds available to match the private funds that we raised for this facility.
“The High Altitude Performance Center will be one of the best facilities of its kind in all of college athletics. It will provide the student-athletes in all of our sports the athletic training resources to compete with the best in the nation, and it will provide our academic counseling unit exceptional resources to help our student-athletes achieve their educational and career goals.”
“The Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center will redefine Cowboy football,” says UW Head Football Coach Craig Bohl. “This facility will play a critical role in our vision of recruiting to what we call the Wyoming Profile. That recruiting effort involves attracting a young man who is committed to earning a meaningful degree from an outstanding academic institution and has a laser-like focus to win Mountain West Conference championships. The High Altitude Performance Center will put us at the top of the league in terms of training and academic facilities, which is where we also aspire to be on the field of competition.”
The new facility will focus on the unique advantages of training at an altitude of 7,220 feet. From strength and conditioning training, to nutrition, to recovery and rehabilitation services following injuries, the HAPC will serve the needs of all of Wyoming’s 400-plus student-athletes.
The facility’s design will stay true to the architectural tradition of iconic sandstone buildings featured throughout the UW campus.
Located just beyond the north end zone, the High Altitude Performance Center will enhance the aesthetics of War Memorial Stadium. Due to its location, the HAPC will be highly visible for national television audiences. It will show the commitment that the state of Wyoming has in ensuring Wyoming Athletics continues to successfully compete at the NCAA Division I level -- the highest level of competition in college sports.
The ground level of the HAPC will house both an Olympic sport weight-training area and a separate strength and conditioning center for the Cowboy football team that will overlook Jonah Field. Also on the first floor will be a sports medicine area that will nearly double the size of its previous space, allowing for more effective and efficient treatment of UW student-athletes. The football locker room, like the football strength and conditioning area, will overlook the field and will include a player lounge.
The second floor will include an expansive academic center to house academic counselors, tutoring areas and a computer lab, as well as enhanced and renovated football offices, meeting rooms, a new recruiting lounge and the nutrition center/training table. The theater-style team meeting room will span both the first and second floors.
Construction on the project will begin after the conclusion of the 2016 Cowboy football season. It is estimated that the project will take 18-20 months to complete.
The original Curtis and Marian Rochelle Athletics Center was opened in 2001 at a total cost of $9.4 million. Fundraising for the RAC included a historic $4.2 million gift from the Rochelles, which was the largest donation in school history at the time. A total of 167 donors contributed to the original RAC.