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Chancellor selects site option for new student union

RELEASED: Dec. 18, 2009

portion of new student center site plan
Click image to view full-size site plan.

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich has instructed the Davies Center Redevelopment Steering Committee to proceed with a site option for a new student center that will preserve the site of the Historic Council Oak tree by shifting the building to the east toward Phillips Science Hall.

"This option respects the considerable work done to date, maintains as close a timeline to the original plan as possible and meets the criteria I set when I asked for additional options to preserve the Council Oak — lower cost and timely completion," Levin-Stankevich said of the recommended plan.

The original plan would have required that the Council Oak tree be moved or cut down to make way for the building. The tree and its site have historic and cultural significance to the campus, Chippewa Valley region and Native Americans. After consulting with members of the campus community and Native American leaders, Levin-Stankevich asked for new site options so the tree and the area immediately surrounding it could be preserved.

Architects have since presented two new options, which were evaluated by the chancellor and others. Both options preserved the Council Oak tree and a 50-foot radius around it.

The option selected by Levin-Stankevich keeps the building in the space between Little Niagara Creek and the Phillips Hall parking lot, but shifts it to the east away from the Council Oak tree and the Nursing Building. View the site plan online.

Construction of the 156,000-square-foot, three-story student center is scheduled to begin in late spring 2010, with occupancy of the building in late fall 2012.

The $48.8 million building project will be funded through segregated fees, which are paid by students. No tax dollars will be involved in the development or operation of the new building.

The Davies Center Redevelopment Steering Committee will meet soon to discuss what has to happen in the coming months to ensure that it has worked with students, the city of Eau Claire and other key stakeholders, said Beth Hellwig, chair of the steering committee. The committee hopes to forward its proposal to the UW System Board of Regents in February 2010.

For information about the project, contact Beth Hellwig at 715-836-5992.

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JB/JP

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