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UW-Eau Claire news release

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Regents approve UW-Eau Claire projects as part of UW System 2013-15 capital budget request

August 24, 2012

EAU CLAIRE — The UW System Board of Regents approved Aug. 23 the UW System 2013-15 biennial capital budget request, which included construction of a new residence hall and the redevelopment of Garfield Avenue on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus.

The approved request will now go to the state Department of Administration and be combined with requests from other agencies for inclusion in Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal.

Both UW-Eau Claire projects included in the request are part of the university's 20-year campus facilities master plan.

Plans for a third UW-Eau Claire-related facilities project, The Confluence Project, will be presented to the regents at their October meeting.

Residence hall

The $33 million residence hall project will construct a four-story, 350-bed, semi-suite-style residence hall of approximately 151,000 square feet on the current site of the Governors Hall parking lot and tennis courts on upper campus. There are provisions to add a wing as a second phase if the site permits.

The residence hall will have an approximate 75 percent to 25 percent mix of four-person single-room suites and four-person double-room suites, with each suite sharing a bathroom. Depending on a feasibility analysis, the project may include underground parking beneath the building. A facilities condition assessment will be done for Horan Hall to determine whether it should be demolished to provide a larger site for a future phase.

This will be the first suite-style residence hall on the UW-Eau Claire campus. A comprehensive housing demand study conducted as part of the 20-year campus facilities master plan demonstrated strong demand for suite-style residence halls to provide students with more varied university housing options.

The residence hall will be funded through room rent paid by students.

Garfield Avenue redevelopment

This $12.4 million project, which will convert Garfield Avenue into a mall area for pedestrians and bicyclists with access for emergency and service vehicles, will extend from just west of Hibbard Hall to the Putnam parking lot at the base of the campus hill. Work will include the replacement of the roadway surface, curb and gutter, sidewalks, lighting and subsurface utilities. The roadway alignment will be adjusted to allow for the extension of the south approach to the campus footbridge that spans the Chippewa River. The newly configured approach will include improvements for pedestrian and bicyclist safety and handicapped accessibility.

The Garfield Avenue corridor will be improved with new bike parking, plazas and landscaping. Replacement of the Putnam parking lot with an outdoor classroom is another goal of this project.

The Garfield Avenue redevelopment also will include the renovation of the Roosevelt Avenue cul de sac just south of Schneider Hall, construction of a campus gateway and construction of accessible parking to replace parking that will be lost when Garfield Avenue is improved.

The Garfield Avenue project will be funded through a combination of general purpose revenue, program revenue and gifts through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

The Confluence Project

Because planning is ongoing, UW-Eau Claire facilities that are a part of The Confluence project will be considered during the UW System Board of Regents meeting Oct. 4-5 at UW-Stout in Menomonie.

The Confluence Project is planned on property commonly referred to as the "Haymarket site" at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers in downtown Eau Claire. The site along Eau Claire Street and Graham Avenue consists of the Farmers Store and Market Square buildings that border the downtown Haymarket parking lot.

The project includes a community arts center and a mixed-use development consisting of retail/commercial space, public parking and apartment-style university student housing for 300 to 370 people. Expanding the site to include buildings along South Barstow Street to allow for additional commercial space also is being considered.

As envisioned, the community arts center of approximately 150,000 square feet would serve the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, community performing and fine arts organizations, and UW-Eau Claire. Preliminary plans for the community arts center include:

  • Three distinct performance spaces: a 1,200- to 1,500-seat theater to replace downtown Eau Claire's obsolete State Theatre; a 450-seat theater to replace UW-Eau Claire's aging Kjer Theatre; and a 250-seat black-box-style venue
  • Scene and costume shops
  • Dressing rooms and other "back-of-house" operations
  • Fine arts studios, gallery space and dance studio space
  • Classrooms and rehearsal rooms
  • Offices for ECRAC, community arts organizations and select university faculty and staff in the fine and performing arts

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

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JP/MR

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