Lately, many Eau Claire area residents and businesses have directly experienced the benefits of our prosperous economy. And among the factors that have brought this success, the work of UW-Eau Claire is eminent. From developing a premier undergraduate research program to cultivating the City’s rich artistic environment, the University has consistently been at the forefront of our shared success. It is crucial, though, that we do not stop here.
The University has operated off of a campus master plan finalized in 2010, and recently shared an update on ongoing campus projects with us. This plan addresses some necessary projects and blends them with the University’s characteristic eye for the community. The major details are explained below.
Shown above is a campus-wide blueprint of the final vision, and on the left-hand side you can see the location for the new science building. Funds for this building are still making their way through the WI legislature, but the University has already decided how it will use the hall:
Because the science hall will be constructed where Putnam and Katherine Thomas currently stand, the University will have to build additional housing to compensate the loss. That project is already under way, and it will be located on upper campus. (The concept is above.) Scheduled to open in the Fall 2019 semester, this dorm will provide 432 beds, making it larger than Putnam and KT combined. With the gained housing space, the University will be only 232 beds short of its desired total—a gap that will be closed when a new dining and residence building is built in place of Horan Hall.
The University also intends to renovate parts of Governors Hall and Murray Hall in the near future. Those dorms currently have climate-control and roofing deficiencies, both of which pose hazards to student safety.
One more note: when Putnam and KT come down, students with disabilities will be housed in the Aspenson Mogenson Hall, which is an ADA-compliant building located just over the footbridge. Transportation to and from the apartments will be available. Additionally, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation owns three historic houses on State Street, adjacent to the Hibbard Hall parking lot. One or more of these houses could be made ADA compliant and used as university-operated residence spaces for students with disabilities if the university and foundation choose to enter into that arrangement.
The University has also expressed need for a new sports complex. Right now, Blugolds perform in Zorn Arena, which is outdated and undersized. That makes it difficult to successfully host both sporting events and graduation ceremonies. So the University has designed a new, more fitting venue, and the concept is pasted above. This project has received significant contributions from community members and alumni, most notably from the Sonnentag family. As a result, it will be mostly privately funded. Yet with all that established, the University is still waiting to break ground. It would first like to ensure the community could make good use out of it as well.
There is one more project on the horizon: a new welcome center. Right now, the University does not have a central location for communication with visitors. That deficiency often makes it difficult for prospective students and alumni to navigate campus once they arrive. To ease that process, the University plans to build a communication hub on Roosevelt Avenue, right across from the current Phillips Hall. A tentative sketch is above.
UW-Eau Claire Science and Health Sciences Building funding included in UW System biennial budget proposal (UWEC)
Plans unveiled for new UW-Eau Claire science hall (WEAU TV 13 News)
Posted by Nathan Kane, Legislative Affairs Intern
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.