Three building renovation projects at UW-Stout approved by Board of Regents

MENOMONIE, Wis. (RELEASE FROM UW-STOUT)-- Three building renovation projects worth more than $33 million were approved by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents Thursday, including one aimed at ensuring the continued stability of the iconic Bowman Hall Clock Tower.

The projects, which will be included in the UW System’s 2015-17 capital budget request, are:

• Bowman Hall exterior maintenance and repair, $8.95 million
• Renovation and an addition to North Hall residence hall, $17.74 million
• Renovation of first floor of Merle M. Price Commons, $6.74 million.

“We appreciate the Board of Regents’ approval of these badly needed projects on campus,” said Chancellor Bob Meyer, attending his first board meeting. “It is a wise use of resources to renovate the facilities we already have, rather than building something new.”

The Board of Regents meeting was held at UW-Oshkosh.

The three projects will be considered by Gov. Scott Walker as he puts together his 2015-17 capital budget, which will be considered by the Legislature next spring.

Bowman Hall

University officials said the look of the 135-foot Clock Tower will not be altered, but the structural integrity of the tower will be shored up.

“There is nothing wrong with the bells” in the tower, said Shirley Klebesadel, director of the UW-Stout Physical Plant. “It’s the structure we are trying to repair.”

Bowman Hall is the oldest academic building on campus, dating back to 1897. The exterior masonry will be repaired, and the exterior doors and windows will be replaced with historically appropriate doors and windows. The clock tower’s structural steel members, roof, supports, flooring and exterior screening also will be renovated or replaced.

“The bell support system will be evaluated for structural integrity and augmented, repaired or replaced as necessary,” according to the project plan submitted to the board.

Bowman Hall houses the Dean of Students; Registration and Records; office of Planning, Assessment, Research and Quality; financial aid; advisement; counseling; and other units. It is named after Clyde A. Bowman, who administered the industrial education division beginning in 1919 and served as temporary president of the former Stout Institute.

North Hall

The North Hall project will renovate about 76,000 square feet in the residence hall at 124 10th Ave. E. and add about 14,000 square feet for an accessible building entrance, expanded bath and shower rooms and new stairs.

“Most of the original building, heating and ventilation systems perform poorly and require constant maintenance to sustain operations,” according to a report to the regents.

Lounge and kitchen spaces will be expanded, and student rooms will be updated.

The four-story residence hall, with 371 beds, was constructed in 1967.

“The building will get modern bathrooms with more individual privacy as well as open-concept floor community spaces, which are highly desired by today’s college students,” said Scott Griesbach, executive director of Student Life Services. “Better accessibility and a more convenient entrance are enhancements that our students and guests with disabilities will appreciate.”

The North Hall project will not be funded with taxpayer dollars but through student fees.

Merle M. Price Commons

Merle M. Price Commons also was built in 1967. The project will remodel about 19,000 square feet on the first floor to accommodate housing, student life offices and dining administrative offices, as well as areas for students to gather and collaborate.

The second floor of the building, which includes the main campus dining hall, was renovated in 2009.

The building is a heavily used central gathering space for first-year students, Griesbach said. Along with the dining hall, it houses a mail and package distribution center, meeting rooms and several key service offices.

“Renovation of this 1967 building is badly needed to modernize the HVAC systems, elevators, accessibility and to install a fire suppression system,” he said. “Students will appreciate an update to the finishes of the building to make it feel more like a 2015 building than a 1967 building.”

The cost to renovate Merle M. Price Commons also will come from student fees.

Merle M. Price was a professor, Dean of Men and Dean of Students who retired in 1972 after 42 years at UW-Stout.

UW-Stout, Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, has more than 9,300 students in 45 undergraduate majors and 23 graduate majors, including one doctoral degree. UW-Stout, established in 1891, prides itself on the success of its students in the workplace, with a graduate employment rate at or above 97 percent for recent graduates. The university, located less than an hour from the Twin Cities, was awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality award in 2001.


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