Ayres assisted the State of Wyoming with discussions and planning to identify the best possible locations for a new Governor’s Residence. Selected by a cross-section of representatives from the State Building Commission, legislators, and the State Construction Department, Ayres assisted with visioning sessions, alternative site concepts, cost estimating, and a strategic report with final recommendations. Ayres provided site development concepts for four possible sites and participated in a regional tour of governor’s residences in North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada.
Built in the 1970s, the current residence’s lack of functionality, security issues, and other deficiencies prompted the search for alternatives, including the option of remodeling or rebuilding on the current site. The original design was downsized because of insufficient funding. Ceilings were lowered, bedrooms removed, and the public space program cut in half. The quality of construction materials and finishes also was compromised.
The Governor’s Residence Working Group focused its exploration on 14 sites and then narrowed the alternatives to three new sites and the existing site, each with its own pros and cons in light of security and functionality considerations. The report provided cost estimate ranges for each location, with numbers spanning from $9 million to $18 million.
The Working Group concurs that the existing residence does not fulfill the objectives and obligations of a governor’s residence because of security concerns, its remoteness, interstate highway traffic noise, the building’s dated design, and its small size and lack of modern amenities.
Despite these deficiencies, the existing site was considered with modifications that could address several of the shortcomings. A new residence could be constructed on the current site, creating a modern residence that better addresses the functional and security issues, along with expansion and remodeling of the current space to accommodate public functions.
The new sites under consideration include:
The Pioneer Site, whose size provides flexibility and whose location near the Capitol provides security and operational efficiencies. The site is believed to be quiet but has lingering environmental concerns.
The St. Marys Site, which provides the most ceremonial and visible location very close to the Capitol. This site’s proximity to a medical center poses some noise concerns.
The Historic Governor’s Block, where the Historic Governor’s Mansion stands. This site, which would effectively honor Wyoming’s heritage, also is near the medical complex, and this option is the only one that would rely on acquisition of private property to proceed, thus extending the project schedule and cost.