The new W. R. Davies Student Center is transforming campus life at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. It replaced the original Davies Center, which opened in 1959.
Like its predecessor, the new student center is named in memory of William R. Davies (1893–1959), the university's second president.
The new Davies Center opened its doors Monday, July 30, 2012 — a soft opening during which services were initially limited and finish work continued throughout the building. Building hours are available online.
The $48.8 million project is funded through segregated fees, which are paid by students.
No tax dollars have been involved in the development, construction or operation of the building.
In keeping with UW-Eau Claire’s strategic goals of stewardship and sustainability,
the new student center incorporates eco-friendly elements including a green roof and sustainability standards designed to consume 30 percent less energy than current codes require.
The original Davies Center left the campus landscape in August 2012 and the site was redeveloped as green space. On the north the new student center is bordered by the Little Niagara Creek, which was incorporated into the landscape of the Central Campus Mall. Immediately south is the 230-acre Putnam Park, acquired by the university in 1957 under the Davies administration. Davies Center occupies a site that was once the historic meeting grounds of the Dakota and Ojibwe people.
The approximately 170,000-square-foot student center is designed by Stantec and the Wisconsin-based firm Bray Architects. Inspired by nature surrounding the Eau Claire campus — the Chippewa River, the woods, the stone formations, the Little Niagara Creek — the canoe shaped building points towards the river.
Construction of the new Davies Center began March 7, 2011, and was completed in 2013. Kraemer Brothers, LLC, of Plain, Wisconsin, was the project's single prime contractor.
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