UW-Eau Claire students may be away during spring break March 20-24, but there still will be plenty of activity on campus as work gets underway on the Garfield Avenue redevelopment project.
“When people return from spring break, they will see some changes in the areas on lower campus that are accessible for pedestrian and vehicle traffic,” said Chris Hessel, project manager in UW-Eau Claire Facilities Management. “Some main routes used by students, faculty and staff will be changed due to the work that will take place on this project.”
The transformational project, which has been in the planning process since 2008, will involve the replacement of aging utilities along the Garfield Avenue corridor followed by surface changes that will enhance both visibility and use of the riverfront area on campus. The project is expected to be completed in fall 2018.
Altered campus traffic routes
During the week of March 20, Haas Sons Inc. of Thorp, general contractor on the project, will begin installing fencing around the construction zone and will set up the project staging area in the Putnam parking lot on lower campus. As a result, the Putnam lot will be closed to student parking effective March 20. The lot’s closure will be permanent, as it will be the location of an outdoor classroom once the Garfield Avenue project is completed. (See a related story for more details on the Putnam lot closure.)
Also as part of the Garfield Avenue project, Haas Sons will remove three houses owned by the university that are located on Roosevelt Avenue across from Schneider Hall and the Schneider parking lot. The demolition of the houses will make way for future development envisioned in UW-Eau Claire’s Campus Master Plan.
For the spring semester, the Garfield Avenue project construction area will extend from the base of the campus hill on the west to the Ecumenical Religious Center on the east. The project area also will extend from the north edge of Garfield Avenue to the north-facing sides of Katherine Thomas Hall, McIntyre Library, Old Library and Schofield Hall.
The north entrances of McIntyre Library and Old Library will close once construction fencing is installed, and entrance to those facilities will be via south- and east-facing doors only. Schofield Hall's ADA-accessible north entrance will remain open throughout the project. The north entrances of Putnam and Katherine Thomas halls will remain open until end-of-semester move-out ends on May 20; those entrances will then reopen in time for fall semester move-in.
Once construction fencing goes up, traffic by non-construction vehicles will no longer be allowed in the construction area, and pedestrians going between upper and lower campus will travel a route to the south of Katherine Thomas Hall, the Old Library and Schofield Hall rather than along the Garfield Avenue corridor.
Footbridge to close for summer
The campus footbridge will remain open through commencement weekend (May 20-21). The bridge will then close May 22 for construction work on its south end, and it will reopen in time for the start of fall semester classes. (See more on the footbridge closure below and in a related story.)
In addition to the construction on the south end of the campus footbridge, summer work on the Garfield Avenue project will involve much digging to allow for the replacement and extension of utilities that serve UW-Eau Claire lower-campus buildings. The work will necessitate some temporary power and water outages in affected buildings, and advance notice of those outages will be provided.
Parking changes ahead
Due to the summer footbridge closure, changes to student, faculty and staff parking in the Hibbard, Human Sciences and Services (HSS) and Water Street lots will take effect May 22. Additional parking changes involving the Phillips lot will take effect during new student orientation in June. See a related story for complete details on parking changes due to the Garfield Avenue redevelopment project.
Bicycle parking changes also will take effect following installation of the Garfield project construction fencing. Bike racks located just north of McIntyre Library, Old Library and Schofield Hall will be inaccessible during the project. To accommodate bicyclists, additional racks have been placed south of Katherine Thomas and Putnam halls as well as under McIntyre Library, and temporary racks will be placed outside Hibbard Hall along Garfield Avenue once the snow season ends.
Ongoing project updates
Ongoing updates on the Garfield Avenue redevelopment project will be posted on UW-Eau Claire’s construction webpage, uwec.ly/future. The page also includes links to background on the Garfield Avenue redevelopment, as well as information on other upcoming facilities projects.
Top photo caption: This conceptual drawing of the Garfield Avenue project shows the view from Park Avenue looking west down the pedestrian mall after completion of the redevelopment project.