July 16, 2004
Summer Construction Underway on Campus
UW-River Falls students returning to campus this fall will find some visible and not-so-visible changes at the University. Several projects totaling an estimated $50 million are in various stages of planning and construction, including a new student union, window replacement for North Hall and Prucha Hall and other projects.
"Students will notice changes in residence halls and lobbies, and some sidewalks," said Greg Koehler, building maintenance supervisor at UW-RF. "We've been doing a lot of painting in the residence halls as well as other updates. We've continued to upgrade traditional classrooms across campus to technology-enhanced classrooms."
Among the most visible of the projects are realignment and utility additions to Fourth Street between the Kleinpell Fine Arts Building and the Davee Library. In addition, in progress are finishing touches on the South Fork Suites residence facility and completion of the new Child Care Center on the east end of campus.
This summer demolition will begin of the Ames Education Building in the center of campus, which will be the site of the new student union. Construction of the student union is set to begin next spring.
According to Waldo Hagen, director of facilities management at UW-River Falls, summer is prime time for construction on campus.
"Summer is often the only time when a building can be taken off-line to perform maintenance, since that is a time which will have the least impact on classes," said Hagen. "Also some types of work are not feasible during the winter due to the weather. This summer is fairly typical in terms of the amount of construction on campus although we have been busier than normal with projects in the development and design stages for which construction will not occur for two to four years."
On the south end of campus, projects in the works include a locker room addition and expansion to the Hunt Arena/Knowles Recreation Center complex. Other projects include security cameras at Ramer Field parking lot, a new roof on the bookstore facility in the Hagestad Student Center, a new tennis court complex near Ramer Field, seal-coating of numerous parking lots, updates to computer labs, and conversions to technology-enhanced classrooms. In addition, card readers will be added to entrances of all residence halls. Off campus, construction for a new Dairy Learning Center at Farm II could begin as soon as fall 2004.
Recently completed work includes repair to the foundation of South Hall, the oldest building on campus, resurfacing of Spruce Street and pathway and other repairs to sidewalks and roads. Less visible projects on campus include HVAC updates or repairs to the Ag Science Building, South Hall and the library as well as the Heating Plant complex.
Several of the projects, including the $1.1 million Child Center, the $11.6 million South Fork Suites, and the $28 million student union, are funded by student user fees. A portion of the Child Center funding is from a $100,000 federal grant. Other projects are funded by state tax dollars under the auspices of the State Building Commission. Projects are managed by the Division of Facilities Development of the Department of Administration in Madison as well as the University.
"We are very pleased that not only the state of Wisconsin and its citizens but our own students are investing in the future of this campus," said UW-RF Interim Chancellor Virgil Nylander. "They understand that for us to provide a quality education we need facilities that support the needs of both students and faculty. Well-maintained and new facilities will enhance our ability to serve our students and others throughout the region."
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