Plans unveiled for new UW-Eau Claire science hall

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt, UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen and Momentum West Executive Director Steve Jahn spoke about the UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls proposed science buildings Monday afternoon.

Earlier this year, the UW System Board of Regents signed off on funding which will replace the old science halls.

Schmidt said the current Phillip’s Science Hall at UWEC, built in the 1960's, is in a state which can't be renovated, so a brand new facility will be built.

“This building has gone way past its useful lifetime,” said Schmidt. “If all goes well, we would open a new building in 5 years. That’s no small task.”

The approved UW System capital budget proposal includes a total of more than 250 million to build the new facility on UWEC's campus.

“Great things really happen when different institutions work together and with the business and broader community to advocate for progress in these ways at our institutions,” said Van Galen.

David Minor, CEO of the Eau Claire Area chamber of Commerce, was adamant on ensuring a successful project.

“I hope the rest of the community can stand up and be a part of this, show support in any way you physically possibly can, said Minor. “We have to figure out how to make this a success.”

The university said the new facility will ensure that UW-Eau Claire can effectively address project workforce shortages in STEM fields, including nursing and other health care professions, by providing the programming that students, external accreditation boards and industry partners expect.

All UW-Eau Claire students will use the new Science and Health Sciences Building.

When the new construction takes place, students will continue their classes in the current science building.

The university says the new building will be built where two residence halls, Katherine Thomas and Putnam Halls, currently stand.

It says those residence halls will be torn down. Once the new science building is completed, the old Phillip’s Science Hall will be razed.