The University of Wyoming broke ground to begin construction of the new Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place just behind the current 40 year old Fine Arts building. UW President Tom Buchanan, Dean Ollie Walter and UW Board of Trustees President Dave Bostrom all spoke at the event.

According to the University, the facility which is set to be compete in December of 2014 and will be a lasting honor to Buchanan's love and commitment to fine arts. UW Board of Trustees President Dave Bostrom made the announcement that the new facility would be named after Buchanan who is retiring this year after eight years as president and a 35-year career at UW. Bostrom added "this facility is providing a final jewel to enhance the educational opportunities for students."

UW President Tom Buchanan said, "he remembers the current fine arts building when it was built 40 years ago how that was a state of the art facility back then and how this new facility will fit the 21st century needs and provide more space for an overflowing amount of students in our fine arts program." Buchanan added "this is a very special day here at the University and for everybody involved-our staff, students, and our community in Laramie."

The new Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts will include about 120,000 gross square feet of renovations of portions of the existing facility along with about 50,000 square feet of new construction. The new facility will also have a 256-seat Thrust Theatre and a 100-seat Recital Hall.

UW Dean Ollie Walter provided some humor when speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony. Walter said "the fine arts building has a better winning record than any of our athletic teams" in response to people thinking the face of the university is their athletic department. Walter acknowledged that their athletic department plays a big role for the university, but stated "music and theater are the academic face of the University."

UW Board of Trustees President Dave Bostrom spoke out on Tom Buchanan's efforts and said “It’s a passion in his own life and that of his wife Jacque, but President Buchanan was equally passionate in his efforts to make certain that the performing arts have the space, configuration and amenities necessary so that academic instruction, student performance and public enjoyment can thrive for years to come.”

According to a UW release, the project is being funded by a combination of bond proceeds, a 14.2 million legislative appropriation, private donations, and other sources of funds. The release goes on to say that the University and UW Foundation are working together to secure two million in private gifts to complete the financing package.

According to UW President Tom Buchanan, the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts is the second phase of UW’s investments in the arts. The first was the $33 million, 79,000-square-foot Visual Arts Center that opened in 2012. In total, the university and the state have invested about $70 million in the two projects.

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