When the fall semester begins, students at UW-Eau Claire may enter campus through an archway bearing the university’s name.
The new “front door” of the campus — a red brick and steel arched gateway flanked by stone benches — is slated to be completed in mid-August, said UW-Eau Claire facilities project manager Andrew Nord.
The gateway, along with a stone fountain that will sit outside Schofield Hall, are the final touches on a larger redesign of Garfield Avenue.
Much of that redesign, including replacing some underground utilities, removing the Putnam Hall parking lot and adding an outdoor classroom and reconfiguring the campus footbridge’s south end, was largely completed by October.
The gateway, fountain and improvements to the outdoor classroom at the entrance to Putnam Park will cost $1 million, said Mike Rindo, assistant chancellor for facilities and university relations. The projects were entirely funded by a private donation from Jon and Megan Stowe through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.
The gateway’s two red brick columns will be almost 16 feet tall, Nord said.
“We’ve been trying to do this for a couple years, to make it a gateway toward campus,” Nord said.
Construction on the archway began in the first week of June; crews are currently bricking the columns’ exteriors, Nord said.
“It’s going well so far. Hopefully the weather holds out (and) it stops raining,” Nord said.
The fountain is also slated to be completed mid-August, weather permitting, Nord said. It will incorporate boulders, a rock-water walking path for pedestrians and locally-sourced granite.
This summer crews will also replace cracked concrete on Garfield Avenue and the sidewalk, Nord said.
Welcome Center bids to be opened
Another major university project is expected to break ground this summer.
The $5.5 million University Welcome Center, which will be built along Roosevelt Avenue, will house the campus admissions office, Alumni Association and UW-Eau Claire Foundation.
General contractor bids for the project will be opened this month, Rindo said.
“If we have a successful bid opening, we anticipate construction to start in late summer, with completion in summer of 2020,” Rindo said.
The two-story, 16,267-square-foot welcome center will be built on the site of a welcome kiosk on Roosevelt Avenue and three previously razed homes, according to the university. The project is entirely funded by donations.
Rindo doesn’t expect the project to have a significant impact on traffic flow in the campus neighborhood.
“It’s going to be much more prominent than the parking kiosk,” Rindo said. “The enhancements to Garfield Avenue and the welcome center show we’ve got a great alumni base and great donors to the (UW-Eau Claire) Foundation.”