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Chancellor's Blog: Governor Evers adds to bipartisan push for new science building

| Chancellor James Schmidt

I was thrilled to host Governor Tony Evers and our local legislators on campus today for the governor’s announcement that our proposed Science and Health Sciences Building would be funded in his 2019-21 capital budget. This is very good news for UW-Eau Claire, and I want to offer my sincere thanks to the governor and all our regional legislators and community leaders who have worked together in a bipartisan manner to make our project part of this year’s capital budget announcement.

Our Science and Health Sciences Building has garnered strong support, both across campus and in our community. As I gave my remarks next to Governor Evers, I was especially pleased to see that many of our faculty and staff in STEM and health sciences fields were able to be with us for the announcement. We were also joined by many members of our regional legislative delegation, who are advocating with their colleagues from all corners of the state about this project’s merits. For more information, see today’s story and video about the governor’s announcement.

Several significant, innovative parts of our proposal to replace Phillips Science Hall have helped it gain statewide traction. Most important has been the strong buy-in from community stakeholders and legislators who recognize the culture of excellence and dedication embodied by our faculty and staff and the need for a 21st century facility that will support their teaching and research. That same excellence is what led Mayo Clinic Health System to sign a master collaborative research agreement with our university and why the Mayo Clinic Health System team is excited about the opportunity to lease space in the new Science and Health Sciences Building.

From here, Governor Evers’ capital budget will be considered by the State Building Commission, which will vote on what projects to forward to the Joint Committee on Finance (often called the Joint Finance Committee, or JFC). Later in the spring, the JFC will hold a series of statewide hearings where members of the public can provide input on budget measures, before forwarding its budget to the Legislature for approval. After the Assembly and Senate pass matching versions of the budget, the governor will review the Legislature’s budget and may apply line-item vetoes before signing a final version. The tentative budget adoption date set by the Legislature is Aug. 1, 2019.

We’ve got a long way to go before this project is finalized, but today’s budget announcement from the governor was welcome news that recognizes the impact the Science and Health Sciences building will have for our students, our faculty and staff, and our community partners.

Top image caption: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers was accompanied by UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt after arriving March 7 at the university's Phillips Science Hall.

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