Improvements OK'd

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

Feb. 2, 1996

Kleinpell, South Hall to See Improvements

By Jaime Larson
UW-RF News Bureau

The State of Wisconsin has given its approval for UW-River Falls to begin the planning stage for a $1.8 million capital improvements project that would affect Kleinpell Fine Arts Building and South Hall.

The project involves three areas: improving the ventilation in the art wing of Kleinpell Fine Arts, converting the third floor of South Hall into classroom space, and replacing aluminum wiring with copper wiring in KFA.

According to Campus Planner Dale Braun, an industrial hygienist noted deficiencies in the ventilation system in KFA in a study done in September 1993. Because of pollutants such as clay dust and the heavy metals in clays that occur naturally in art classrooms, proper ventilation is necessary to make these areas healthy for students, Braun said.

To make room for the new ventilation equipment, the art department offices will be moved into the current office for the dean of the college of arts and sciences, and the dean's office will be moved into the classroom wing on the south side of KFA.

According to Virgil Nylander, vice chancellor of administration and finance, this is an efficient move because it also will provide needed space for the dean's office.

"That office complex is really overcrowded," Nylander said. "There's very little room for his staff to hold meetings with the department."

The classroom space lost in KFA will be replaced by converting the third floor of South Hall into a classroom area. Due to a lack of funding, the third floor could not be renovated with the rest of South Hall in 1991, and this project will complete that renovation, Nylander said.

Nylander is excited about updating South Hall.

"It (South Hall) has turned into a major classroom building," Nylander said. "It's kind of nice to see the old building brought up to current standards."

South Hall, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, served as the original State Normal School, founded in 1874 to train teachers for the northwest. It was declared obsolete in 1971 and slated for demolition. A low-interest, long-term loan from the U.S. Department of Education led to the first stage of its reconstruction.

As part of this capital improvements project, the wiring in KFA will also be brought up to current standards. The present wiring was installed in KFA during a copper shortage in the 1970s, and aluminum wiring was used as a replacement. However, according to Braun, the wiring has caused problems such as small fires associated with the condition of the wiring.

"The main reason for doing this project is to enhance the safety of the building," Braun said.

Currently, the University is in the process of selecting an engineer to plan the project. Once plans are completed, they must be submitted to the Wisconsin State Building Commission, which then must approve the release of funding to allow construction to begin.

Braun predicts that construction will not begin until 1997. Once started, total construction time should be six to eight months, Braun said, though the projects in KFA may take more time due to the fact that construction must be scheduled at times when it won't interfere with classes.

Funding for the project comes from monies set aside for the University of Wisconsin System as part of the state capital building fund, which consists of money set aside specifically for improving state buildings. The funding is allocated on a need-based ranking of pending projects within the UW System.

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