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Summer Construction in Full Swing at UW-RF

UW-River Falls will move ahead this summer with a $14.5 million construction plan that includes an $11.5 million suite-style residence hall and a $1.1 million childcare center.

Aside from the two major projects with a combined total of $12.6 million, campus improvement projects are relatively small, ranging in cost from $5,000 to $150,000. The nearly $2 million that remains in the budget will cover those projects.

In a construction season complicated by the state budget crisis, some projects have been delayed or postponed, according to Waldo Hagen, director of facilities management for UW-RF. Hagen said the residence hall and childcare facility are both funded through student fees rather than tax dollars.

They will generate over $7.3 million in construction and materials purchasing and produce 106 jobs in construction and the trade industries.

Those two projects, in addition to several smaller ones, will be overseen by Facilities Manager Tim Thum.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration in January placed all previously-approved state construction projects on hold, and has since been reviewing each project to see if it should be continued, reduced in scope or canceled, Hagen said. "Although most of our projects will be allowed to go forward, one of the consequences of this time-consuming review is that we have missed some of our windows of opportunity. Some high-priority projects that we planned to complete this summer will have to be put off until the summer of 2004. For other projects, the time available to complete the work will be reduced.

"On the bright side, however, there are still a number of projects that will move ahead this summer," he said. "Phase two of the tile replacement project in the Agriculture Science Building will be completed this summer." The asbestos tile throughout the building has been removed and replaced in a two-step process. Last year, tiles were removed and replaced in the corridors on the second, third and fourth floors of the building, and in some of the labs on third floor. This year, the floors in the remaining labs and classrooms and all of the offices will be replaced.

Said Facilities Engineer Jim Murphy, "We are taking up the tile in 56 offices and replacing it with carpeting. We have completed the third floor offices already, and will begin soon on fourth floor. After July 4, we will do floors one and two. " The total cost of the two-year project, he said, is $150,000.

The third floor of Kleinpell Fine Arts will also be a construction zone as the space that is currently occupied by the history and philosophy departments is remodeled to make a new home for the political science department. Other spaces will be remodeled for the history and philosophy departments. The sociology, geography, speech and theatre departments will also be disrupted throughout the construction process.

According to Maintenance Supervisor Greg Kohler, who is handling the project, the work will be completed by the end of the summer, when students return for fall semester. Kohler also is handling remodeling of the space occupied by the journalism department and the campus radio station on the third floor of North Hall, and creating some improved work space for the campus newspaper "The Student Voice." The work in North Hall will probably be completed by July. Both projects will involve the same type of improvements, to include new walls, tile, carpet, paint,doors, ceilings and lighting. Hagen said the cost for each project will be under $100,000.

A landscaping project at Hathorn Hall will involve grading the area to improve drainage, after which new sidewalks and a terrace will be installed. The plaza on the north side of Hathorn will be substantially renovated from the east entry to the west entry, and there will be reconstruction out to the mall sidewalk on the south side. Murphy, who is heading up the project, said the slope at the east entry will be improved for wheelchair access, and space has been allocated for bicycle racks. He said the project is scheduled to begin June 16 and should be completed by mid-August, at a cost of about $90,000.

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