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UW-Eau Claire plans for major building projects

RELEASED: April 21, 2010

aerial view of UW-Eau Claire

EAU CLAIRE — A new student center at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire — the subject of recent media coverage following April 9 action by the UW System Board of Regents that moved the project into full design phase — is just one of three building projects that are well into the planning process on the university campus.

The new construction projects — the student center, an education building and a children's center — represent nearly $100 million in new construction and place UW-Eau Claire in the midst of the most comprehensive and expansive campus facilities improvements to be undertaken in the past 40-50 years, said Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich.

"These new building projects represent a significant and much-needed investment in our campus," Levin-Stankevich said. "Their completion will create high-quality spaces for the extraordinary learning and teaching that occur at UW-Eau Claire. These projects begin to bring our facilities up to the requirements of a 21st-century education."

A new website provides details on each of the building projects and will be updated regularly as the projects progress. The site also includes information about UW-Eau Claire's ongoing facilities master-plan process, which will guide development on the campus for the next 20 years.

Construction of the 170,000-square-foot, three-story student union is scheduled to begin in late fall 2010, with occupancy of the building in late summer 2012. The $48.8 million building project will be funded through segregated fees, which are paid by students. The facility will be built in the space between Little Niagara Creek and the Phillips Hall parking lot on lower campus, just south of Davies Center, the current student center. The new building site was shifted to the east toward Phillips Science Hall to preserve the historic Council Oak tree and a 50-foot radius around it. The tree and its site have historic and cultural significance to the campus, Chippewa Valley region and Native Americans.

The new education building will house portions of UW-Eau Claire's College of Education and Human Sciences, classroom space, the departments of English and foreign languages, and select student support services, including Services for Students with Disabilities, Student Success Network (providing writing, math and other academic support) and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The design phase for the $44.5 million, 154,000-square-foot project is expected to continue into 2011, with construction expected during the 2011-13 biennium.

The new children's center will replace the facility currently located in Campus School, which will be razed as part of the new education building project. The new children's center will be located immediately east of the Human Sciences and Services Building on Water Street. Design for the $3.2 million, 14,600-square-foot project should be completed in 2010, and construction completion is expected late in 2011.

Parking availability will decrease during the construction of the new buildings and is expected to decrease slightly overall following construction completion. Changes in traffic flow on and around campus also are anticipated. The university has formulated a parking plan and is seeking input from students, employees and community members concerning the parking plan and traffic issues, said David Gessner, assistant chancellor for budget and finance. Communication and consultation will continue to ensure sufficient parking and efficient traffic flow throughout and following the construction process, he said.

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JP/DW

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