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UW-RF To Break Ground for New Residence Hall

Groundbreaking for an $11.5 million suite-style residence hall at UW-River Falls is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, at the site where the building will be located, on the east end of campus near the tennis courts behind Crabtree Hall.

The event is being held in conjunction with the UW-RF Alumni Weekend. The ceremony will begin with remarks by Chancellor Ann Lydecker and Jamie Wise, chair of the Student Residential Living Committee. Area legislators and University dignitaries also will participate. A reception will follow at the site.

"This groundbreaking ceremony is particularly significant because the UW-RF students are providing the funding necessary to construct the building," said Lydecker. "We are proud that our students recognize the need for suite-styled residential space on campus."

The new residence hall is funded entirely with student fees and without any state tax dollars. It is projected to generate nearly $6.7 million in spending on construction materials and equipment and provide 97 jobs in the construction and trades industries.

The 240-bed residence facility, "South Fork Suites," will house 60 suites, each consisting of four private bedrooms, one bath, a living room and a kitchenette. This type of arrangement is known as "transition living," because it is similar to apartment living but it is on campus. Campus Planner Dale Braun said there is a national trend for students to live on campus, probably because it is more economical and more convenient than living off campus. There are no concerns about parking, there are no utilities to pay, and online Internet access is provided. Campuses all across the country are building new residence halls.

Braun said 2,300 students at UW-RF presently live on campus in nine buildings, all in double occupancy rooms. Another 1,300 students live off campus.

The design for the building was created by Wenzler Architects from Milwaukee. It reflects the architecture of South Hall, the oldest building on campus, which dates back to 1898. The residence hall will have a hip roof and tall, narrow windows, and it will be built of red brick and buff-colored stone, similar to that of South Hall and some other campus buildings.

Construction on the residence hall is scheduled to begin July 1, and the project should be completed in 18 months. It is the first residence hall built on campus in nearly 40 years.

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