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Building Commission: Include Towers renovations in state budget

The Wisconsin State Building Commission March 24 approved a recommendation that $33 million for renovations of both 10-story wings of UW-Eau Claire's Towers residence hall be included in the 2015-17 state budget.

The Towers Hall renovation project was among the UW System projects put forth in Gov. Scott Walker's 2015-17 capital budget proposal and unanimously recommended for state budget inclusion by the building commission's Higher Education Subcommittee on March 23.

The Towers residence hall project would include the construction of additional common areas;improvements to resident rooms, bathrooms and hallways to meet current standards;and renovations to accommodate three new elevators at each core. Overall occupancy of the 245,618-square-foot facility would be reduced from 1,287 beds to about 1,092 beds to provide more space for common areas and the reconfiguration of bathrooms. HVAC systems would be upgraded, exterior windows replaced, and exterior brick, concrete and masonry walls repaired. The project would be phased to keep one tower operational while the other is being renovated.

The Towers Hall renovation project would be funded through fees students pay to live in university residence halls. No tax or tuition dollars would be used.

Towers Hall was built in 1967 and is one of nine UW-Eau Claire residence halls built between 1955 and 1969.