Special to CONTRACTOR
CHEYENNE, WYO. — The University of Wyoming in Laramie and the state’s seven community colleges have begun a voluntary effort to install fire sprinklers in all dormitories. The state legislature included $5 million for sprinkler retrofits in a supplemental spending bill signed into law by Gov. Dave Freudenthal
The retrofits will be cheaper than the $5.8 million in damage caused by a fire last year at Northwest College in Powell, Wyo.
The American Fire Sprinkler Association noted that State Fire Marshal Jim Narva said that last year’s fire at Northwest College was a wake-up call and he’s pleased that the budget request was approved. Wyoming joins New Jersey, Delaware, Illinois and Wisconsin in requiring sprinkler retrofitting at college residence halls.
According to a report in the Cheyenne Tribune-Eagle newspaper, the retrofit will cost $2.1 million at the University of Wyoming and $2.9 million at the state’s community colleges, said Brad Carroll, the fire prevention and electrical safety education coordinator for the state fire marshal’s office.
About three-quarters of the student housing at UW and the community colleges do not have automatic fire-suppression sprinkler systems, Carroll said.
Robert Cox, vice president/business services for Laramie County Community College, said it will cost an estimated $220,000 to install the sprinkler system at its residence hall, the Tribune-Eagle reported. The college’s residence hall has 84 student beds and a lounge.
Rick Miller, vice president/government, community and legal affairs at the UW, told the newspaper that sprinkler systems would be installed in phases at UW’s six high-rise residence halls and one apartment complex.