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:
- Labs & research space: As of now, an estimated 10,000 square feet will be dedicated to labs and research space. This is a large increase from the current allocation, and it will allow the University to provide masters-level research opportunities to all its undergraduate students.
- Home for STEM: The new science hall will be a home not only for traditional science majors but for STEM majors of all stripes. This will promote interdisciplinary communication, which, in turn, will lead to more productive and innovative research.
- Mayo Clinic partnership: Mayo is looking at investing in the construction of research space in the new building, but its involvement with the university extends into teaching and learning. Thanks to a Master Collaborative Research Agreement between UW-Eau Claire and Mayo Clinic, Mayo can send a few of its leading physicians to Eau Claire to work as professors in the new facility, allowing UWEC students to study under some of the nation’s leading health-care professionals and researchers.
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)