About the project
In 2018 the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved a biennial capital budget that includes the first phase of funding for the new UW-Eau Claire Science and Health Sciences building. The $109 million was approved in the 2019-21 Wisconsin state budget, and the project reached its first design milestone in June of 2021. The project, which will involve the demolition of the Katharine Thomas and Putnam residence halls, is underway. You can view a live-stream camera of the demolition and preparation for construction taking place on lower campus.
Replacing Phillips Hall will provide state-of-the-art science facilities for student learning and help to ensure that UWEC continues its tradition as a national leader in undergraduate research. The new Science and Health Sciences Building will be a catalyst for talent and workforce development for northwestern Wisconsin.
The project includes approval for $13.7 million in philanthropic contributions. Mayo Clinic Health System has set a goal for philanthropy to support the cost of creating and occupying a 10,000-square-foot shared research workspace in the building.
Investing in the Health of Wisconsinites
The Chippewa Valley is poised to become a leading provider of health care services throughout northwestern Wisconsin. With the new collaborative research agreement between two of the region’s strongest assets — the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Mayo Clinic Health System — comes a combined focus on education, research and patient care that will be a powerful driver for economic development and quality-of-life improvement. The foundation for this collaboration has already been laid, with outstanding faculty, student researchers and physician scientists ready and able to advance innovation and spark new opportunities for business development. The collaboration between UW-Eau Claire and Mayo Clinic Health System is highlighted here. But world-class innovation requires facilities that will meet the 21st-century demands for creative space, interdisciplinary work and advanced technology. Supporting this regional catalyst requires a focused reinvestment in the facilities that will make the vision possible. UW-Eau Claire is ready to lead the advancement of health sciences education to improve the quality of care for patients in Northwestern Wisconsin.
Responsible Use of State Dollars
Renovation of Phillips Hall or inaction would be incredibly costly and ineffective. Full replacement is the only responsible use of state dollars. This building is UW-Eau Claire's least efficient and most expensive academic building to operate. The total operational cost exceeds half a million dollars annually. A feasibility study of Phillips Hall found that several major renovations are needed to keep the building functional—including major overhauls of the roof and electrical systems. However, even full renovation would be incredibly costly and fail to fix the building’s fundamental, infrastructural problems, like the floors’ insufficient live-load capacity and the building’s low floor-to-floor height. Despite its significant shortcomings, an average of 5,600 unique students take classes originating in Phillips Hall every academic year. Renovation of Phillips Hall would be expensive and ineffective, and failing to replace the building could jeopardize UW-Eau Claire’s academic mission.
There is no other current project that is more important to the future of our regional economy and workforce than this urgently needed replacement for the aging and outdated Phillips Hall.
The Hub for Experiential Learning and Engagement
Rigorous, transformative learning is a hallmark of all three UW-Eau Claire campuses. Students come to UW-Eau Claire for learning that is rigorous, challenging, engaging and immersive. We surround each of our students with opportunities to live what they study inside and outside of the classroom and across the community. Students do so through collaborative research experiences, civic engagement, immersion, internships and meaningful student employment — all high-impact practices that include intentional refection to help students connect their experiences to their goals and to their responsibilities as active citizens of the community and world.
UW-Eau Claire’s STEM and health sciences expertise has a significant impact on area businesses and organizations. Over the past five years, more than 225 outside businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and government agencies have engaged with the science departments housed in Phillips Hall. These interactions, ranging from consultations during product development to long-term research collaborations, create pipelines to find internship opportunities and future career paths for students by giving their academic work a direct link to business.
Our new science and health sciences building will be the catalyst for innovation, ensure new programing such as the Blugold supercomputing cluster and biomedical engineering, and will expand on our national leadership in undergraduate research and increase new collaborations with community partners to support research opportunities for faculty and students.
Major Milestones *subject to change
|Summer 2022||Early Site Demolition|
|Fall 2022||Preliminary Design|
|Spring 2023||Full Design and Bidding Documents|
|Winterim 2024||Construction Begins|
|Spring 2026||Construction Ends|
|Fall 2026||Building Opens|
Letters of Support and Resolutions
Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce - January 2021
Mayo Clinic Health System - June 2019
UWEC Testimony to Joint Committee on Finance - April 2019
Mayo Clinic Health System - April 2019
City of Eau Claire Community Development - April 2019
Altoona City Council - October 2018
Eau Claire City Council - October 2018
Eau Claire Area School District - October 2018
Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation - September 2018
Mike Carney, Committee Chair, Associate Vice Chancellor
Kristin Anderson, DFDM Project Manager
Cathy Weiss, UW System Representative
Sara Carstens, Mayo Clinic Health System
Gordy Howie, Mayo Clinic Health System
Tim Nelson, Mayo Clinic Health System
Grace Crickette, Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration
Troy Terhark, Director of Facilities
Renee Strehlau, Associate Director of Facilities and Sustainability Coordinator
Andrew Nord, Facilities Construction Project Manager
Craig Ernst, IT Manager of Client Support Services
Derek Gingerich, Associate Professor, Biology
Jamie Lyman-Gingerich, Associate Professor, Biology
Jenny Dahl, Associate Professor, Chemistry
Ezra Zeitler, Chair, Professor, Geography & Anthropology
Brian Mahoney, Professor, Geology
Jim Boulter, Professor, Public Health & Environmental Studies
Marc McEllistrem, Professor, Materials Science & Biomedical Engineering
Erik Hendrickson, Chair, Physics/Astronomy
Rakib Islam, Assistant Professor, Computer Science
Meg Lagunas, Assistant Professor, Director of Clinical Learning Center, Nursing
Doug Matthews, Professor, Psychology/Neuroscience
Sydney McGuine, Student Senate Rep.
Leah Woodward, Student Senate Rep.
This feasibility study for science programs at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was commissioned to evaluate the most feasible way of accommodating science, nursing, and pre-professional health science programs on the UW-Eau Claire campus.
UWEC Science Feasibility Study
Another major design milestone for the proposed new Science and Health Science Building has been completed with a Pre-Design and programming study.
Another step in the design process provides preliminary design documents.