Confluence project resolution on agenda for UW-System Board of Regents meeting

By: Jenny You, Andrew Fefer Email
By: Jenny You, Andrew Fefer Email
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (UW-EAU CLAIRE NEWS RELEASE) -- UW-Eau Claire is trying to get $25 million for the Confluence Project but instead of going to the UW System for money, it's taking a different route with what's called a non-state agency grant.

On Thursday, the UW Board of Regents will vote on a resolution that would reaffirm its support for the Confluence arts center and direct UW System President Ray Cross to work with the state Department of Administration to implement the project. The text of the resolution is included in the agenda for Thursday's full Board of Regents meeting and is seen below this story.

According to Stephanie Marquis with the Department of Administration, a non-state agency request means the state provides a one-time grant for building expenses on a project where the state will not own the property upon completion of the construction.

"These one-time grants are submitted to DOA as part of biennial capital budget, and the requests must be approved by the State Building Commission, Joint Finance Committee and full legislature as part of the review of the capital budget before they are awarded," said Marquis.

UW-Eau Claire Assistant Chancellor of Facilities Mike Rindo said the UW Board of Regents' vote of support would mean a step forward for the Confluence Project.

"When Governor Walker was in Eau Claire and endorsed the Confluence Project in June, he talked about the possibility of a non-state agency grant that's been used for projects similar to this in other parts of the state," said Rindo.

Rindo said UW-Eau Claire will seek funding in the 2015-2017 biennium for the Confluence Project through the non-state agency grant.

Even with the news of the County Materials Event and Recreation Complex, a new UW-Eau Claire sports and events facility on Menomonie St., Rindo said the university's focus right now is on the Confluence.

"What we're concentrating on now is on the Confluence Project and securing state funding to go with the philanthropy and local funding to make the project happen for UW-Eau Claire and the community," he said.

Student body vice president Jake Wrasse said the April 1st referendum proved people want the Confluence to move forward. He said voter turnout increased by 210 percent on campus.

"I think it would send a strong message for the board of regents to support their students and it would be providing necessary support that this project needs to continue going forward," said Wrasse.

The UW System Board of Regents will vote on the resolution and discuss it on Thursday at UW-Oshkosh.

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The UW System Board of Regents will consider 2015-17 biennial capital budget recommendations for the system and a resolution in support of the Confluence arts center project in downtown Eau Claire during an all-regent's meeting at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, at UW Oshkosh.

The resolution to be considered by the regents would reaffirm the board's support for the Confluence arts center and direct UW System President Ray Cross to work with the state Department of Administration to implement the project. The text of the resolution is included in the agenda for Thursday's full Board of Regents meeting and is set forth below.

"We've known all along that the regents' support for the Confluence arts center is crucial to the future of the project, so we're pleased that they will be considering a resolution of support for the project and seeking state funding for it," said UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt. "Since Governor Walker's remarks in June during his visit to Eau Claire, we've known that a non-UW System route to funding was a possibility. We look forward to the regents approving the resolution and bringing the Confluence arts center one step closer to becoming a reality."

Board of Regents 2015-17 capital budget request resolution

Resolution:

That, upon the recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the 2015-17 Capital Budget request be submitted to the Department of Administration and the State Building Commission. The 2015-17 Capital Budget request includes the following:

1.Enumeration of 29 major projects at a cost of $299 million General Fund Supported Borrowing, $232 million Program Revenue Supported Borrowing, $43 million Program Revenue-Cash, and $32 million Gift/Grant Funds.

2.Enumeration of $74 million General Fund Supported Borrowing for All Agency Maintenance and Repair and Small projects; and $10 million General Fund Supported Borrowing for the Instructional Space Projects Program.

3.Authorization for the UW System President or designee to adjust individual project budgets as necessary in the development of the final 2015-17 Capital Budget recommendation with the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

Let it be herein further resolved, that the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents reaffirms its support for the UW-Eau Claire Confluence Project and directs the President or his designees to work with the Department of Administration to implement the project.


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