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Media Memo: State Building Commission approves lease of former St. Bede Monastery

March 22, 2012

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Mike Rindo

DATE: March 22, 2012

SUBJECT: State Building Commission approves lease of former St. Bede Monastery

The State of Wisconsin Building Commission on March 21 approved a lease agreement between Blugold Real Estate LLC and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for various uses of The Priory (the former St. Bede Monastery) by the university. The 15-year lease is for the entire Priory property, including approximately 81,000 square feet of building space and 112 acres of land.

The first intended use for the property is as the relocation site for UW-Eau Claire's current Children's Center. Because Campus School, which currently houses the Children's Center, will be razed in spring 2012 for the university's Education Building project, the Children's Center must first be relocated. The Children's Center will occupy approximately one-third of the overall building space at The Priory, and the remaining two-thirds will be available for other purposes.

The university had been planning to build a new Children's Center next to the Human Sciences and Services building on Water Street. However, bids for the project, which opened Aug. 10, 2011, exceeded the $3.8 million budget, and options for how to best proceed were explored. Those options included redesign, value engineering and other cost-reduction measures, and off-campus relocation sites.

In October 2011, Blugold Real Estate, a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, announced it had purchased the former St. Bede Monastery for use by the university. The monastery property includes 112 mostly wooded acres in the Town of Washington and three building complexes totaling approximately 81,000 square feet. It is located three miles south of the UW-Eau Claire campus. The sale price was $1 million.

After obtaining conditional use permits from both the Town of Washington and Eau Claire County for the intended uses, Blugold Real Estate conducted a public request for proposals from contractors to serve as the construction manager and contractor to make necessary improvements to the facility. Market & Johnson Inc. of Eau Claire was selected.

The lease between Blugold Real Estate and the university previously was approved by the UW System Board of Regents at its March 8 meeting.

For additional information, contact Mike Rindo, assistant chancellor for facilities, at 715-836-4742 or rindomj@uwec.edu.

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