Landmark 'high bay' facility opens at UW

Aug 17, 2017 From wire reports

LARAMIE (AP) -- The University of Wyoming has opened a new research facility dedicated for large research projects.

High Bay Research Facility opened this week holds state-of-the-art equipment, offices and meeting spaces. University Spokesman Chad Baldwin says the facility was made with large doors so that bulky equipment and materials can enter the building.

It will house the School of Energy Resources and the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

The new facility cost the university about $68 million to build. It was paid through money raised from corporate partnerships and funds from the state Legislature. The university began constructing the facility in March 2015.

"The grand opening of the High Bay Research Facility is a great day for UW and Wyoming," Gov. Matt Mead said. "This state-of-the-art facility is a commitment to maintaining Wyoming's leadership role in energy research. I thank the Legislature for its support and the companies that contributed generously to this important project. Congratulations to UW and all involved for a job well done."

Because Wyoming's economy is based significantly on natural resource extraction, energy research conducted in the High Bay will directly impact the future of the state and its citizens.

Located on North 19th Street near the UW Centennial Complex, the $68 million, 90,000-square-foot High Bay Research Facility is a partnership between the School of Energy Resources and the College of Engineering and Applied Science. It houses the Center of Innovation for Flow Through Porous Media, the Improved Oil Recovery Laboratory, the Geomechanical/Petrology Laboratory and a Structures Research Laboratory.

"The High Bay Research Facility is a true asset for the future of UW's energy programs," UW President Laurie Nichols said. "Already a leader, UW researchers and students will be able to expand cutting-edge oil and gas research that benefits the state, as well as other engineering research important to industries in the state and region. The governor, the state Legislature and donors who invest in the university deserve our appreciation."

The facility is designed for large-scale experiments that go beyond the size of a traditional engineering laboratory. However, the high-bay configuration not only allows for large experiments. It also quickly adapts to changing research needs and can be reconfigured rapidly and economically.

For example, when the university expands its research into a new area, a new laboratory can be constructed in a portable building or a shipping container and then quickly moved into the High Bay and hooked up to utilities -- instead of the university having to construct a whole new building.

"This new research facility is a game changer for UW oil and gas research," says Mark Northam, executive director of the School of Energy Resources. "Our work on flow through porous media and improved recovery is world class. Now we have the capacity to challenge new frontiers and to continue to push the envelope of fundamental knowledge of how subsurface reservoirs work."