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November 30, 2001

UW-RF Phase I Dairy Learning Center Approved

Formal approval was granted Nov. 28 for the first stage of a $3.43 million Dairy Learning Center complex at UW-River Falls.

Chaired by Gov. Scott McCallum, the State Building Commission approved a request by UW-RF and the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents to fund five buildings that comprise the first stage of the project. The action represents the final stage in the project's approval by the State of Wisconsin and means groundbreaking is likely to occur next fall.

Said Chancellor Ann Lydecker, "We're excited about our ability to move ahead with the actual construction of the first phase so that we can continue to develop our dairy science program, which is a leader in the nation."

The Phase I structures are being designed by the architectural firms of HSR Associates of La Crosse and 5G Consulting of Paris, Texas. Construction will take about a year. It will be sited on 20 acres of UW-RF's Mann Valley Laboratory Farm No. 2 northwest of River Falls.

Phase I will provide basic animal facilities for a 96-cow milking herd to replace UW-RF's 50-year-old dairy operation at its Laboratory Farm No. 1 on the main campus. The new Center will be located on 20 acres of UW-RF's Mann Valley Farm, about two miles northwest of River Falls.

Included in the proposal is a milking center with a double-six, herringbone parlor; lactating cow barn; a transitional cows barn; a flush-flume animal waste handling system with holding tank and settling basins; a machinery storage building; and infrastructure improvements for both phases, including electricity, water, roads and parking lots.

The University will be seeking another $4 million in the 2003-05 state biennial budget for Phase II of the center. That includes a feed storage and mixing facility; a young stock barn; an arena building; a classroom building and additional parking. Projected ground-breaking would be in Spring 2004 and take about a year to complete.

During the next two years, the College also will review plans and timelines for a future robotic milking operation. Gifts and commitments to the Dairy Learning Center have been generous and the College continues to pursue corporate and private support to meet a $500,000 target that is the University's share of overall funding.

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