||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Phillips Science Hall Project Approved|
By State Building Commission
MAILED: March 17, 1999|
Phillips Science Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is on track to get an $11.5 million upgrade beginning later this year.
The State Building Commission, chaired by Gov. Tommy Thompson, approved the project today. With the State Building Commission's approval, it becomes part of the state Legislature's 1999-2001 biennium budget proposal.
"We want to thank the Governor and members of the commission for their support of this very important project," said UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Donald Mash. "This renovation will help ensure that our outstanding science faculty and students will continue to meet their goals for teaching and research."
The proposal calls for 60 percent of the space in Phillips Science Hall to be significantly remodeled. The renovation includes upgrading electrical and heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems; improving the building's environmental conditions; remodeling and equipping classrooms, laboratories and support areas to more effectively allow space to be used for multidisciplinary teaching and research; and incorporating handicap accessible features to comply with the American with Disabilities Act.
Currently, the building's classrooms and laboratories have problems such as too little technology and poor acoustics, and there is not enough research space. Among the other problems are pipes that leak between floors, noisy unit ventilators, water damage, and lack of air conditioning in parts of the building.
Since the building was constructed, there have been significant changes in instructional techniques, safety requirements and laboratory equipment, as well as computer instrumentation for experiments.
"UW-Eau Claire's science faculty and students have done incredible work in recent years but limited space and dated equipment has been a concern," said Dr. Philip Chute, chair of the physics and astronomy department. "This renovation project will provide classroom and research space that we need as we adapt to the instrumentation and technology needs of the future."
In recent years there has been a growth in the demand for science 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. About 20 percent of all UW-Eau Claire classroom hours are held in the building, which represents almost 16 percent of the assignable square footage of academic space on campus.
The demands on the building will continue to increase because UW-Eau Claire's baccalaureate degree now requires 11 science credits instead of nine. Also more students are interested in nursing and engineering programs, resulting in larger enrollments in science and mathematics courses. In addition, a growing number of students want to participate in collaborative research with science faculty.
"For years, faculty in science programs at UW-Eau Claire have provided undergraduate students with research opportunities comparable to those offered in graduate programs," Mash said. "The number of UW-Eau Claire students collaborating with faculty on research projects has increased dramatically in recent years as more dollars have been committed to research and more students have come to understand the value of those opportunities. This renovation project will provide the space and technology needed to ensure that those interested in participating in research projects in the sciences have the resources they need to meet their goals."
If approved in the legislative session, work on the $11,496,500 renovation project is expected to begin in the spring of 2000, with the project ending in the fall of 2001.
The building was constructed in 1964, with an addition completed in 1969. The five-story building houses the departments of biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology and physics and astronomy. In addition to classrooms and laboratories, it also houses the L.E. Phillips Planetarium, a bird museum and a greenhouse.
For several biennia, UW-Eau Claire had identified an addition to its main science building as a priority among its major project considerations as a way of solving 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 university's science needs, UW System and UW-Eau Claire architectural and engineering staffs conducted an intensive investigation in 1993 to examine the physical structure, capacity of the utilities and the use of the facility. The scope of the current project was the result of that study.
The Phillips project will be the largest renovation project in UW-Eau Claire's history.
The State Building Commission today also approved planning dollars that will enable UW-Eau Claire to plan for the $2.9 million renovation of the former Campus School building. The remodeling and upgrading of this building will transform it from an elementary school to a collegiate facility.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: March 17, 1999