New and remodeled campus buildings will greet UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout students at the start of the fall semester.
Several building and renovation projects at both universities are slated for completion by the end of August.
Classes at both campuses will begin Wednesday, Sept. 4.
At UW-Eau Claire, a new six-story residence hall called The Suites is scheduled to open this month. It will hold 432 students, said Mike Rindo, assistant chancellor for facilities and university relations.
The $35 million cost is funded by student housing fees.
Suites will hold four students each, with a bathroom in each set of rooms. The building is full for the fall semester, Rindo said.
UW-Eau Claire has several apartment-style halls, including Chancellor’s Hall, Haymarket Landing and Aspenson Mogensen Hall, but The Suites is its first suite-style hall, Rindo said.
With renovations and adding The Suites, UW-Eau Claire has addressed its student housing shortage, Rindo said.
“We traditionally have been significantly over capacity in terms of housing,” he said.
But with new housing at The Suites and the university-sponsored Haymarket Landing and Aspenson Mogensen Hall, “we’re able to meet demand,” he said.
Renovations in the David Karlgaard Tower, or Towers North, are on track to be completed in time for move-in, Rindo said.
“They’re moving in furniture, finishing work around the building, finishing hall director apartments in both (Towers buildings), so we’re substantially complete,” Rindo said. “But there’s still some work being done, as well as landscaping. We’re anticipating that’ll be completed by move-in.”
Freshmen and transfer students are slated to begin moving in on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Crews updated the buildings’ exteriors, improved bathroom privacy, added air conditioning and remodeled study lounges and gathering spaces.
The Towers Halls renovation began in fall 2017 at Marilyn Karlgaard Hall, or Towers South.
Student housing fees are funding the Towers project, ringing in at $39 million, Rindo said.
Residence halls aren’t the only UW-Eau Claire infrastructure getting facelifts: A red brick and steel archway with stone benches at the corner of Garfield and Park avenues are scheduled to be completed before the end of August, as well as a water fountain, Rindo said.
Crews also replaced cracked concrete and added pavers on Garfield Avenue and its sidewalk. The concrete was still under warranty, and the maintenance costs fell within the Garfield Avenue project’s $12.4 million budget, Rindo said.
The Garfield Avenue overhaul began in spring 2017, including adding an outdoor classroom, removing the Putnam Hall parking lot and reconfiguring the campus footbridge’s south end.
UW-Eau Claire welcome center
Another major UW-Eau Claire project, a welcome center on Roosevelt Avenue, has been sent back to the design phase, Rindo said.
The university held a bid opening in July for the two-story, 16,267-square-foot welcome center, but the bid wasn’t low enough, Rindo said.
The building’s budget is $5.5 million.
According to UW System bid tabulation documents with unverified totals, Eau Claire contractor Market & Johnson submitted the low bid of $5.08 million to be prime contractor of the project before a bid opening July 9. But the low base bids for fire protection, plumbing, HVAC and electrical services totaled $1.6 million, according to UW System documents. Combined, all the low bids for the project totaled about $6.6 million.
“That (project is) all gift funded, but the bid did come in high, so we’re going to have to do some redesign and put it back out for bid either late this year or early 2020,” Rindo said.
Construction is anticipated to start in spring 2020 and take about one year.
The welcome center will be built on the site of a welcome kiosk on Roosevelt Avenue and three previously razed homes, according to the university.
UW-Stout wrapping up two renovations
At UW-Stout in Menomonie, North Hall and Merle M. Price Commons, adjacent buildings whose east sides open to the campus mall and west sides face Broadway Street, will reopen around the end of August.
Students are scheduled to move into residence halls, including North, on Sunday, Sept. 1.
North Hall has undergone a complete renovation, along with three small additions and a new main entryway.
The $21.74 million project, funded with student fees, includes all new student rooms, bathrooms, common areas, entries and infrastructure. Built in 1967, the building has expanded 14,000 feet to about 90,000 square feet. It will house about 370 students.
“The bathrooms were moved to the outer edges of the building, opening it up in the middle for lounges. It’s much brighter,” said Mike Bowman, project manager for Facilities Management.
At Price, work has been limited to the first floor, exterior and entryways. The second floor, housing the main student cafeteria, previously was remodeled.
Also built in 1967, Price Commons has new windows and sills, a refurbished patio on the west side and some new bricks, along with expanded entryways on all sides.
The new first floor will feature refurbished offices for the LGBTQ center, the Qube, and an expanded and updated lounge that opens to the patio. The Qube reopened in April.
“It’s going to be a beautiful building. When you walk in the east side, you’ll be able to see all the way to the west side. Before, it was closed off. This will help brighten it up a lot,” Bowman said of the $7.57 million project, also funded with student fees.
A third campus project, on the exterior of historic Bowman Hall, will continue into the fall and likely resume next spring. It involves replacing 30,000 bricks, stone accents and supports, and brick mortar and windows throughout. Also, the 135-foot Clock Tower will get a new roof and structural repairs.
The only interior work at Bowman, renovation of the south side extension that houses Registration and Records, wrapped up earlier this year. Original brick walls and beams were exposed.
The bells in the Clock Tower, which ring every quarter hour, were silenced in late May as work began on the tower area. They have rung for special occasions. Regular bell chimes could resume in October.
In a small separate project, the timing mechanism for the four clock faces in the tower isn’t working properly and will be repaired.
The three projects, which began in spring 2018, total more than $38 million.
UW-Stout Communications contributed to this report.