The project- which is a major part of the plan to build up downtown Eau Claire- is not in the UW system's capital budget, however. Instead, regents passed a resolution urging the state to fund it outside the UW budget. The part of the Eau Claire project approved today is a performing arts center that would be used by UW-Eau Claire and others. Project developers now have until the middle of next month to apply for the grant. After the vote, UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt seemed pleased: "I think, for locally, it's important that this is cleared up exactly what the next steps are. It's more than hope, it's an actual vote of support and we'll be working with the local philanthropic community and our other supporters to make the Confluence a reality. With any luck, we'll have a shovel in the ground in less than two years." The University of Wisconsin System issued the following statement after the Regents' vote:
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today reaffirmed support for the UW-Eau Claire Confluence Project as part of the resolution recommending UW System 2015-17 capital budget projects.
The governor has warned state agencies not to expect any new tax dollars in the spending plan but Cross believes he can convince the governor and legislators the new money will boost the economy.
Also at Thursday's meeting, the Regents approved a request for $33 million for several projects at UW-Stout in Menomonie. Among those projects: $8.9 million for exterior maintenance and repair of Bowman Hall, $17.7 million for renovation and an addition to North residence hall, and $6.7 million for renovation of the first floor of the Merle M. Price Commons.
The Regents also approved $33 million for renovations to Towers Hall on the UW-Eau Claire Campus.