Photo caption: The State Building Commission chaired by Gov. Tony Evers has authorized construction of the Science and Health Sciences Building and the beginning of the bidding process for construction contractors.
Construction on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s new $340.3 million Science and Health Sciences Building is expected to begin in July 2024.
The State Building Commission chaired by Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday authorized construction of the building and the beginning of the bidding process for construction contractors. A timeline in the commission documents indicates bid opening in February 2024, with construction to begin in July. Construction is expected to take more than two years.
“After years of hard work, the Science and Health Sciences Building is becoming a reality thanks to the collaborative efforts of our many community partners, state legislators and everyone on our campus who saw the need and worked tirelessly to make it happen,” Chancellor James Schmidt says. “With the help of Mayo Clinic Health System’s financial commitment for integrated research space, this state-of-the-art facility will provide additional innovative opportunities for our nationally recognized undergraduate research programs, and impart a transformative educational experience for the Blugolds who will become our future scientists and health care leaders.”
On Dec. 8, the UW System Board of Regents approved construction of the building and a $3.7 million upgrade to the lower-campus chiller plant to accommodate the additional air-cooling requirements of the science building.
Grace Crickette, vice chancellor for finance and administration, says the project has advanced due to the efforts of many groups, including the university’s facilities and capital projects staff, the campuswide planning team, the Universities of Wisconsin Capital and Planning Office, the state Department of Administration Division of Facilities Development and design team.
“All these groups have worked in a timely manner to design a building that will maximize flexibility for both the lab systems and general space systems,” Crickette says. “This same attention to detail, quality and timeliness will be in place as we move into the construction phase and occupancy process.”
The building will be built on the sites of the former Katharine Thomas and Putnam halls next to Vicki Lord Larson Hall and McIntyre Library. The Thomas and Putnam residence halls were demolished in fall 2022.
The five-story, 330,000-square-foot Science and Health Sciences Building will house the following academic programs: biology, chemistry and biochemistry, computer science, geography and anthropology, geology and environmental science, public health and environmental studies, neuroscience, materials science and biomedical engineering, physics and astronomy, and nursing.
The building will replace the 60-year-old deteriorating Phillips Hall that no longer meets the needs of UW-Eau Claire students. Phillips Hall is the most expensive building to maintain on UW-Eau Claire’s campus and the least efficient building to operate.
The final stage of the project is for demolition of Phillips Hall after construction of the science building and move-in is completed. The Phillips Hall site will be developed to add parking spaces with the remainder to be restored to green space.