Photo caption: This is a rendering of the proposed Science and Health Sciences Building that will be built on UW-Eau Claire's lower campus. While planning for the new academic building has been underway for several years, the on-site work will begin soon with the demolition of Putnam and Katharine Thomas residence halls.
Big changes soon will be happening on lower campus as the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire takes another step toward a $256 million project that will give Blugolds a new state-of-the-art Science and Health Sciences Building.
While planning for the new academic building has been underway for several years, the on-site work will begin soon with the demolition of Putnam and Katharine Thomas residence halls, two outdated buildings that no longer meet university needs. A few bricks were removed from the dorms during an event this spring, but the actual demolition will begin sometime in the next few months after all required approvals have been secured, according to Grace Crickette, vice chancellor for finance and administration.
“The university’s goal is to have the building site — which sits next to McIntyre Library and Vicky Lord Larson Hall on lower campus — ready so construction can begin immediately once state funding and all required approvals are in place, which campus leaders expect to happen in 2023,” Crickette said.
“We all know that with construction comes a certain amount of disruption,” Crickette added. “However, we also know that these inconveniences are necessary if we want our students and faculty to engage in the cutting-edge learning, research and other scientific and health care-related endeavors that will enhance the lives of people in our state, country and world.”
The project is expected to span four years, beginning later this summer with the demolition of the residence halls and ending when the new science building is occupied in 2026.
As the demolition of the residence halls gets underway, the campus community and campus visitors should be prepared for the noise and dust that will be part of the demolition work, which is expected to take approximately three months.
When the demolition work begins, fencing will be put up around the site so workers can safely take the buildings down. Aside from the dust, noise and fencing, the demolition will not impact the campus community or campus visitors.
Once construction of the actual building begins, the worksite footprint will expand, fencing will be extended and foot traffic on the site no longer will be allowed.
Access to the Garfield corridor, Putnam Drive and the campus hill will remain unimpeded throughout the project, according to Crickette. The university planning team was careful to limit the impact the project will have on the Garfield corridor, an area recently renovated, she said. While some utility work will impact Garfield, it will be minimal and disruptions brief, she said.
The only potential impact the building project will have on campus parking will be from construction vehicles driving through the Phillips lot as they access the construction site. The university will request that they avoid the parking lot during the busiest parts of the day to ease any construction-related congestion.
More details about the project are available here.