North campus building at UW-Stout removed to make way for outdoor area

MENOMONIE, Wis. (RELEASE FROM UW-STOUT)-- For years it was called the Big Blue House. Soon, it will be a green space.

The blue house on north campus that housed The Ministry for University of Wisconsin-Stout students was demolished Monday, June 23.

After The Ministry moved out of the house in 2012 to a renovated restaurant on south campus next to Harvey Hall, the house was sold to UW-Stout. Demolition was the first step in a process to make a green space and outdoor recreation area for the 925 students who live in four north campus residence halls.

“Students are excited about that space,” said Sandra Scott Duex, director of University Housing. “This will be the congregating area students need when they hang out together. There’s just not a lot of green space now on north campus.”

Plans for the lot, just south of Fleming Hall and bordering Broadway Street, Second Street West and Third Avenue, haven’t been finalized. Most likely the space will include sand volleyball courts, outdoor seating and grilling areas, retaining walls, a pedestrian walkway and other landscaping.

One block of Third Avenue, between the lot and Fleming Hall, was vacated by the city and turned over to the university. That block, along with the current parking lot adjacent to the lot, will become part of the overall green space project giving students even more space to enjoy.

Design work is expected to be finished this fall, and the green space should be open to students by fall 2015.

Ross Toellner, commenting on UW-Stout’s Facebook page, has good memories of the blue house. “I lived in that house for two years. What an amazing house with so many stories. Even though it may be gone it will always be in my heart. That building taught me so much,” he said.

A large oak tree on the lot has not been torn down, Duex said. “Our goal is to work with the architect to see if we can incorporate the tree into the final design.”

The cost of the project is being covered by student housing fees.
North campus improvements in the past decade have included the additions of Red Cedar Hall, a suite-style facility, and North Point Dining and Fitness. Also, Fleming and Hovlid halls have undergone complete renovations.

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