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The Priory, a rich resource for teaching and learning.

Exploring a New Future for The Priory


A historic partnership
On Sept. 23, 2013, UW-Eau Claire and the Ho-Chunk Nation signed a memorandum of intent to collaborate on the creation of a living-learning community at The Priory for students who are members of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Explore the following links for more information:

UW-Eau Claire, Ho-Chunk Nation to pursue higher-education partnership (UW-Eau Claire news release)

UW-Eau Claire and Ho-Chunk Nation 'Living and Learning' together (WEAU-TV story)

UW-EC, Ho-Chunk Nation sign deal to pursue collaboration (Leader-Telegram story)

In fall 2012, Interim Chancellor Gilles Bousquet charged a Priory Development Taskforce with identifying the best possible uses of The Priory and creating a plan that will maximize those uses by the university and potential external partners. Chaired by Professor and Dean Emerita Katherine Rhoades, the Taskforce encourages faculty, staff, students and community members to share their ideas for the future of the Priory with the Taskforce.

The Priory Gardens and Grounds Summit follow-up meeting May 14

A follow-up meeting to The Priory Grounds and Gardens Summit was held May 14. Read the follow-up meeting summary.

Individuals and representatives of organizations in the Eau Claire area joined UW-Eau Claire students, faculty and staff on April 19, 2014, in providing input into the future of the grounds at The Priory. Read the recommendations of The Priory Gardens and Grounds Summit, led by Dr. Garry Running, UW-Eau Claire professor of geography and anthropology.

Tour The Priory with Kimera Way, President of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and Executive Director of University Advancement.

History of The Priory

The PrioryBlugold Real Estate, LLC, a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation Inc., announced its $1 million purchase of the former St. Bede’s Monastery in October 2011. Founded almost 50 years ago as an educational institution, St. Bede’s, now called The Priory, provides an ideal facility for expanding UW-Eau Claire academic programming. The property includes 112 mostly wooded acres in the town of Washington and three building complexes totaling approximately 80,000 square feet. It is located three miles south of the UW-Eau Claire campus.

The former Children’s Center at UW-Eau Claire, now named the Nature Academy, opened in June 2012 as The Priory’s anchor tenant. UW-Eau Claire students are the primary users of the children’s center services, which include the infant and toddler care program. In addition to students who use the center’s child care services, hundreds of university students either work, volunteer or engage in observation activities at the center annually. UW-Eau Claire is providing a convenience shuttle service to transport students to and from the Priory from campus several times daily during the week.

(From the article, “The Priory provides home for former Children’s Center,” by Mike Rindo and published in The View, Fall 2012, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.)

Priory Development Taskforce Members:

Contact Information:
Katherine Rhoades,
Professor and Dean Emerita
Special Assistant to the Chancellor
McIntyre Library, Room 4043
Phone: 715.836.3312
Fax: 715.836.2902
Proposal Review Process
See the rubric and criteria for evaluating proposals here.

Debra Barker, College of Arts and Sciences
M.J. Brukardt, Chancellor’s Office
Quincy Chapman, Student Affairs
Justin Gardner, College of Business
Ric Gonzales, Facilities Planning
Durwin Long, Continuing Education
Karen Mumford, College of Arts and Sciences
Jill Pinkney Pastrana, College of Education and Human Sciences
Mark Reeves, Business Services, ex-officio
Katherine Rhoades, Chair
Lois Slattery, College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Casey Sylla, UW-Eau Claire Foundation
Troy Terhark, Student Affairs, Priory Facilities Liaison, ex officio

Taskforce Charge:

The Taskforce met for the first time October 18, 2012 to begin its work toward meeting the following multi-pronged charge:

  • To assure a viable “as-is” residential housing component for the 2013-14 academic year.

  • To identify and implement, as soon as possible, revenue-generating outreach and continuing education programming.

  • To manage, under the leadership of the American Indian Studies Program, the development of a viable plan for a Ho-Chunk partnership.

  • To develop a comprehensive five-year, fiscally sustainable program plan by February, 2013. This plan will identify the “highest and best use” for The Priory that fits the University mission as well as identify short and medium-term options that will generate a consistent revenue stream. The plan will include a five-year fiscal revenue/expense model; outline all needed improvements and their cost; and generate a timeline for implementation.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the unique features of The Priory?
It is an iconic complex featuring three buildings located in a wooded setting located just minutes from campus. On-site parking is available.

Are tours available?
Yes. Contact Troy Terhark, at 715-836-4218 or to schedule a tour.

Inside The PrioryDoes the University own The Priory?
No, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation owns the building and is leasing it to the University by way of a long-term lease that extends for 15 years.

Is the UW-Eau Claire Foundation paying for the operations and maintenance of the buildings?

No, the University currently is paying the lease as well as the operation and maintenance of the buildings.

Is the Nature Academy (University Childcare Center) at The Priory allowed to occupy the space rent-free?
No, the Nature Academy is the anchor tenant at The Priory and is paying for space.

What kind of space is available at The Priory?
The Priory consists of approximately 80,000 square feet of space spread among three different buildings. There are multi-purpose rooms of variable sizes, a commercial kitchen, residential space, and 112 acres of green space. Approximately 40,000 square feet  remain available for use. See a site map of the buildings.Kitchen in The Priory

What kinds of other programs will be occupying The Priory in the future?

Future programs will need to be economically sustainable initiatives that support and extend the University’s mission, vision, and values.

Who will decide which programs will be housed at The Priory?

The Priory Development Taskforce will identify the “highest and best use” for The Priory that fits the University mission. This recommended plan will be submitted to the Chancellor.

How may I share my ideas with the Taskforce?

The Taskforce welcomes your ideas. Contact Katherine Rhoades for more information.