MAILED: April 23, 1997|
EAU CLAIRE -- Phillips Science Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will get a $10.5 million upgrade beginning in mid- to late-1999.
The State Building Commission, chaired by Gov. Tommy Thompson, approved planning dollars for the project today. The Subcommittee on Higher Education forwarded its recommendation to the commission Monday.
"We are very pleased and happy with the action of the State Building Commission," Chancellor Larry Schnack said. "We greatly appreciate the support of the governor, state Rep. Rob Kreibich and state Sen. Rod Moen."
The renovation will include upgrading the ventilation system; replacing a large domestic hot water storage tank/heater; installing a new cooling tower; upgrading the electrical systems; and remodeling classrooms and laboratories, said James Bollinger, assistant chancellor for facilities planning and management. Work also will include replacing the single-glazed windows on the building and replacing the exterior lighting. The project will remodel about 60 percent of the assignable square footage, he said, noting that the project would remodel 15 classrooms and 37 laboratories.
Phillips Science Hall, the university's main science building, was constructed in 1964 with an addition completed in 1969. It houses the departments of biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology, and physics and astronomy.
For several biennia, UW-Eau Claire had identified an addition to Phillips Science Hall as a priority among its major project considerations to solve space problems. But it was determined that by moving the computing and networking services from the building, an addition to Phillips could be avoided. To ensure that the building will continue to meet the science needs of the university, an intensive investigation was conducted by the UW System and UW-Eau Claire architectural and engineering staffs in 1993 to examine the physical condition of the structure, capacity of the utilities and the utilization of the facility. The scope of the current project was the result of that study.
In recent years there has been a steady growth in the demand for sciences and science-related courses. From the fall of 1993 to the fall of 1995, the number of student classroom/lab hours in Phillips Hall increased by 6 percent. Approximately 20 percent of all classroom hours are held in Phillips Hall which represents almost 16 percent of the assignable square footage of academic space on campus. The increases will grow since UW-Eau Claire's newly defined baccalaureate degree increases the general education requirement in science from nine to 11 credits.
"There have also been changes in instrumentations, safety requirements and instruction techniques," Bollinger said. "This, together with the steady growth in demand for science and science-related courses, has resulted in cramped and inappropriate teaching laboratory facilities, limited seating for critical courses, shortage of office space, safety concerns, inappropriate storage facilities, and inadequate space and power for equipment."
With the conversion from unit ventilators and the provision for energy-efficient windows and window panels, building steam use should decrease by about 20 percent a year. Electrical energy use should also decrease by about 20 percent with the installation of higher efficiency lighting and water chilling equipment. As a result, the university should save about $17,200 annually in its operating budget. There also will be a savings due to the decrease in maintenance work.
This will be the largest renovation project in UW-Eau Claire's history, Bollinger said. In 1993, the university completed an $8.4 million upgrade to its McIntyre Library.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: April 23, 1997