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Steam line construction begins between upper and lower campus

RELEASED: June 10, 2010

EAU CLAIRE — Work has begun at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on the construction of a new $2.9 million steam line from upper to lower campus. The anticipated project completion date is Oct. 15.

The new steam line will provide steam to the new university student center, for which construction is slated to begin in late fall. It also will provide redundancy for the university's current steam line system, which was constructed in the 1960s, said Terry Classen, UW-Eau Claire director of facilities planning and management.

The steam line project will involve the removal of trees, including three trees measuring 18 inches or more in diameter, along a 15-foot-wide corridor through Putnam Park. The project's path will go from a point north of the McPhee Physical Education Center parking lot on upper campus to just southeast of the Nursing Building on lower campus. It also will involve excavation through the university's Phillips parking lot, which will require the closure of sections of the lot during specific phases of the project.

"This project was carefully planned to minimize its impact on the surrounding environment," Classen said. "But it has become necessary to expand our steam line distribution system and to ensure that we have backup for our current, aging system. We are proceeding in a way that disturbs the natural habitat in Putnam Park as little as possible."

The steam line project has been assessed according to requirements of the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act and was approved in February by the Putnam Park Commission, which administers Putnam Park, the 230-acre natural area owned by the university. The commission is composed of representatives from UW-Eau Claire, the Eau Claire City Council and the community at large. The project's environmental impact assessment can be read online.

"Following construction of the steam line, the excavated area will be restored with original salvaged topsoil, and an erosion control mat will provide a temporary, biodegradable cover material to reduce slope erosion and enhance revegetation," Classen said. "A nurse crop of Canadian wild rye will then assist with the establishment of native perennial and woody vegetative plantings."

Putnam Drive will be closed throughout the steam line project. Work within Phillips parking lot will allow continuous access to loading docks at Davies Center and allow continuous parking on both ends of the lot. The stairway south of the Phillips lot linking upper and lower campus will remain open throughout the project.

For more information about the steam line project, contact Terry Classen, UW-Eau Claire director of Facilities Planning and Management, at classetl@uwec.edu or 715-836-5278.

-30-

JP/DW

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