UW-Eau Claire Garfield Avenue transformation nears completion

| Julie Poquette

Editor's note: This story has been updated as of Sept. 5, 2018, to remove details of a celebration of the completion of the Garfield Avenue redevelopment project. The event, initially scheduled for Sept. 25, will be rescheduled, and the new date and time will be announced when details are finalized.

It’s the first official week of the fall semester at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and faculty and staff returning after a summer break have been greeted with some remaining construction fences and unfinished areas of the Garfield Avenue redevelopment project.

The end to the construction fencing is in sight, UW-Eau Claire facilities department representatives say. The project, which began in spring 2017, has included replacement of aging underground utilities along the corridor and conversion of the previous roadway to a pedestrian and bicycle corridor that enhances the visibility and use of the riverfront area on campus.

Project update

As of Aug. 24, the east end of Garfield Avenue between Hibbard Hall and the Kjer Theatre/Brewer Hall/Zorn Arena complex has been completed and open to pedestrians and emergency and service vehicles. Access also is available to passenger vehicles traveling between Park Avenue and the parking lot that serves the Ecumenical Religious Center.

The campus footbridge is open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, with construction fencing defining available sidewalk routes to campus buildings.

ADA-accessible parking is now available along Garfield Avenue, including three spaces on the west side of the McIntyre Library entrance and four spaces along the front of Putnam Hall. Those spaces, available on a first-come, first-served basis, must be accessed via a route through the Phillips parking lot and along Putnam Drive. Over the summer, seven ADA-accessible parking spaces also were added just south of Schneider Hall as part of redevelopment work at the west end of Roosevelt Avenue.

The final stretch

The final phases of the Garfield Avenue project are expected to wrap up in the coming weeks.

On Aug. 30, construction fencing will be removed starting at the base of the campus hill to just past the entrance to McIntyre Library. Weather permitting, remaining construction fencing will be removed over the next two to three weeks as landscaping is completed beyond that point.

When completed, the entire Garfield Avenue corridor, including the campus hill, will be open only to pedestrian and bicycle traffic and emergency and service vehicles.

Passenger vehicles will be allowed access along Garfield Avenue only in the following cases:

  • For travel between Park Avenue and the parking lot that serves the Ecumenical Religious Center.
  • For travel between Putnam Drive and ADA-accessible parking near McIntyre Library and Putnam Hall.
  • During designated move-in and move-out dates for residence hall students.

For more information about the Garfield Avenue redevelopment project, contact Mike Rindo, assistant chancellor for facilities and university relations, at 715-836-4742 or rindomj@uwec.edu.