Campus improvement projects await approval - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Campus improvement projects await approval


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Two area campuses await a final nod from the state for housing and campus improvement projects.

UW-Stout is hoping for dorm renovation funding and UW-Eau Claire wants to build a new dorm on upper campus and enhance Garfield Avenue.

"We have about 3,000 students who live on campus right now," says Executive Director of Student Life Services, Scott Griesbach.

That's at UW-Stout…and in Eau Claire, "Current capacity for on-campus housing is just over 4,000.  We are at 108% capacity of our housing stock," says Assistant Chancellor for facilities and university relations, Mike Rindo.

To meet the needs of both campuses, there's a lot of student shuffling scheduled, especially at UW-Stout where the JTC dorm is due to be demolished.

"So that building will be torn down and so as a result of that we're trying to make up housing somewhere else.  So we're doing it in McCalmont Hall in particular," says Griesbach.

UW-Stout is also remodeling the North Hall.

"For us, renovating and reusing the buildings and taking them and modernizing the buildings is really a more sustainable approach so that's why we aren't building any more new buildings," says Griesbach.

But even renovations are expensive.

"Close to $8 million for the McCalmont project and close to $14 million for the North Hall project," says Griesbach.

Not for you or me though, because these are non-taxpayer funds.

"This isn't paid for with taxpayer dollars at all.  It all comes from the fees that we charge the students," says Griesbach.

A common theme with Eau Claire.

"I think the most important thing is, is that it's non-tuition and non-taxpayer dollar university money," says Rindo.

UWEC proposes new construction of a residence hall on upper campus and a revamp on the riverfront.

"Primarily turn Garfield Avenue into a pedestrian and bicycle mall, that's also called for in the Master Plan.  All these projects that we're doing are part of our 20-year facilities Master Plan," says Rindo.

The only portion being paid for with taxpayer dollars is half of the $12 million Garfield Avenue reconstruction.

All but one of UW-Eau Claire's residence halls were built between 1955 and 1967. 

The funding for these projects must be approved by the legislature through the two-year state budget.  Public hearings for that budget begin next month.

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