Regents committee OKs $53 million for Northwest Quad renovations

Several construction and renovation projects at UW-Milwaukee, UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls on Thursday were recommended for final approval at the board’s Capital Planning and Budget Committee meeting.

Projects include:

  • Design and construction of the gift-funded UW-Eau Claire Visitor Center and Admissions building ($5.5 million)
  • Initial renovations of the UW-Milwaukee’s Northwest Quad, formerly a hospital, into business and instructional space ($53 million)
  • Renovation and addition of lounge space to May Hall, a residence hall on the UW-River Falls campus (budget increase of $2.4 million)

In addition, UW-Milwaukee presented a case for adding three capital projects to the 2019-21 budget, including replacing its aging Chemistry Building and extending the utilities to support a new building just south of the current one. The cost of the project would be $120 million.

The board must submit capital requests for the next biennium budget to the state by October, with the final vote on inclusion in spring 2019.

“I think our Chemistry Building has a fair claim of worst not-yet-addressed science building in the UW System,” said Robin Van Harpen, UW-Milwaukee’s vice chancellor for finance and administrative affairs. “There’s a question as to just how much longer we can keep using the building for instruction.”

UW-Milwaukee campus officials also described $40.7 million in needed renovations to its student union, as a first phase, and a $9 million reconfiguration of the Klotsche Center Annex to provide a more equitable amount of space between recreational use and athletic programs.

Finally, the committee recommended the board approve a name change for UW-Barron County to “UW-Eau Claire – Barron County.” Regent Mike Jones applauded UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt for a community-inclusive process of the renaming.

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