PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The Wisconsin state-budget-writing committee has allocated dollars for two University of Wisconsin-Platteville building projects in the 2017-19 biennium.

Committee members this week approved $55 million for the construction of Sesquicentennial Hall, a new engineering building, and nearly $24 million for renovations to an existing science facility, Boebel Hall.

The decision, which was praised by local lawmakers, contrasts with Gov. Scott Walker’s recommendation earlier this year that the projects not be included as part of $803 million in allocations in his 2017-19 Wisconsin capital budget.

Wisconsin Senate President Pro Tempore Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, said in a press release that he was “thrilled” by the move.

Marklein, who serves on the budget committee, said capital investment in the UW-P engineering program will fill a state demand for engineers, which is expected to increase.

Wisconsin Reps. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville, and Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, also applauded the move.

UW-P Chancellor Dennis Shields said in a press release, “These two projects are important to build on the university’s strength in the STEM fields. And for that reason, it is important to Wisconsin’s workforce development and growth.”

Sesquicentennial Hall would include new instructional and research labs and classrooms. It was the only new construction project recommended for funding by the University of Wisconsin System regents.

Shields has promoted the project as a solution to space shortages experienced in the existing engineering building, Ottensman Hall, which was constructed in 1966.

The regents also consider the Boebel Hall project to be the system’s No. 1 renovation priority.

Renovations include the addition of 17 laboratories, three classrooms and undergraduate research space, according to the project proposal.

If funding is approved, construction on Boebel Hall is slated to begin in October 2019 and conclude in December 2021, and work on Sesquicentennial Hall would begin in September 2021 and wrap up in December 2023.

The Wisconsin Assembly and Senate must approve the committee’s proposed budget before it is sent to the governor for signature.