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Media Memo: Davies Center renovation

TO: News/Assignment Editors and Directors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume, Director

DATE: Feb. 4, 2008

SUBJECT: Davies Center renovation

The UW-Eau Claire committee charged with overseeing the student-initiated and student-funded $48.8 million redevelopment of UW-Eau Claire's student center identified two potential sites during a series of meetings with architects Tuesday, Feb. 3.

The Davies Redevelopment Steering Committee — made up of students, faculty, staff and administrators — narrowed the options to the following sites:

  • Constructing a new building in the green space area between the existing Davies Center and the Phillips Hall parking lot on the south side of lower campus.
  • Constructing a new building between Zorn Arena and Schneider Hall along Park Avenue on the east side of lower campus.

Architects from the Philadelphia-based architectural firm Burt, Hill and the Wisconsin-based firm Bray Architects identified seven potential locations but the committee narrowed the options to the two locations noted above. Siting factors considered included but were not limited to flood plain issues, traffic flow (specifically bus and semi traffic) and proximity to student activities.

The 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.

A 2000 student referendum found that a majority of students supported updating and expanding Davies Center and increasing student segregated fees to pay for it. Project leaders then found Davies was in such poor condition that the original $8.5 million budget would not be enough.

A 2003 referendum that called for additional increases in student segregated fees to support a new building failed. But a spring 2005 survey found that about 75 percent of the 2,666 student respondents believed Davies needed renovation. The results of that survey led to further definition of a potential redevelopment project, which was proposed in December 2005. Sixty-four percent of student respondents supported the redevelopment project, with funds coming from segregated fees.

The university began collecting fees to support the project in fall 2000. During the 2008-09 academic year, each student paid $201 to support the project. Fees will reach about $326 a year in 2010-11. It's expected that fees would continue at that rate for 20 years to pay for the project.

The existing student center opened in 1959. A 1964 addition doubled its size, with additional expansion and updates made to the building in 1976, 1982 and 1991.

For more information, contact Dr. Beth Hellwig, dean of students, at 715-836-5992 or hellwiba@uwec.edu, or Ricardo Gonzales, campus facilities planner, at 715-836-5125 or gonzalrm@uwec.edu.

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