Construction on the new $35 million, six-level dorm on UW-Eau Claire’s upper campus is moving forward on schedule and within budget, says Quincy Chapman, director of housing and residence life.
The building features 432 beds throughout the 108 units, he said. The building will open Aug. 1, giving the university much-needed additional housing, he said.
“It was really significant. We’ve experienced a four-decade housing shortage,” Chapman said. “We’ve been in hotels. This helps us get on our way, where we don’t think we’ll need to use them.”
The new building is slated to be filled to capacity when it opens, as students have already signed up to be the first residents.
“It became quickly one of our popular buildings,” Chapman said. “We’re already full for next year.”
UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt called the new housing a “win-win-win” because it will benefit the students, the university and the city by freeing up other housing.
“Most people in the community know we’ve had a housing shortage going back to the 1970s,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt noted the building was approved by the Legislature in 2013.
“There are no taxpayer dollars involved,” Schmidt added. “This is entirely paid for through student housing fees.”
In recent weeks, the entire six-floor building’s exterior has come together, standing out on campus.
“The nice thing about new construction is there tends to not be many surprises,” he said.
Warmer weather also has aided in moving the project along, he added.
“They were able to do more work on the exterior, because the weather has been good,” Chapman said. “That’s exciting, especially for the students who have put up with the construction, to see the exterior go up.”
Chapman describes them as suites because they don’t have kitchens but are otherwise apartments. The building will have new features that students are demanding, he said.
“The significant features are wireless and wired internet,” he said. “It’s really robust internet, much faster than they can buy off campus.”
There is a lounge and kitchen on each floor, and air conditioning throughout.
“Every wing has a study lounge,” he said. “Rather than classic computer labs, we’ve sprinkled large flat-screens throughout the building.”
Students will be able to connect their laptops to those screens, he explained.
The main floor also features a fitness center, a game room and a laundry room.
The big thing the building is missing is a name, as nothing has been selected at this time. For now, it is just called “new suite-style hall,” he said.
Schmidt said he’s pleased with all the features available in the dorm hall.
“We’ve listened carefully to the students of what they are looking for,” Schmidt said.
The dorm hall is near the two 10-story tower buildings, which also have undergone significant renovations. The work includes upgrading the heating and ventilation systems, sprinkling, plumbing, elevators and exterior improvements.
South tower is now open; North tower is closed and also will be set to open Aug. 1. Each tower provides housing for about 650 students. That renovation was expected to cost $33 million.