by Senator Howard Marklein
September 27, 2019
UW Platteville Building Project Update
In 2017, UW Platteville pitched their case for a new engineering building – Sesquicentennial Hall and renovations to the Boebel building, which houses Biology, Environmental Sciences and Chemistry. Chancellor Dennis Shields, Dean Wayne Weber and Dr. Phillip Parker capitalized on having the members of the JFC on their campus for a public hearing on the state budget by offering the members a tour and conversation about the unique needs of UW Platteville.
Following months of continuing education, lobbying and hard work, former Governor Scott Walker signed the 2017-19 budget with $78 million for these projects at UW Platteville. I was very proud of our collaborative work on this funding and have been monitoring the progress of the buildings so that I can provide an update for you.
The renovations on Boebel Hall are further along than the Sesquicentennial Hall project, though both are on schedule. Officials at UW Platteville are planning on a January start for construction in Boebel Hall and Fall 2020 construction for Sesquicentennial Hall. Boebel Hall is planned to be finished by Fall 2021 and Sesquicentennial Hall is projected to be open in Fall 2022.
The planning for both facilities has been a strong team effort among students, faculty and staff. The buildings will be cutting-edge and innovative, while providing students with study and collaborative areas for group work, including a two-story atrium in Boebel Hall. The textiles, design and atmosphere is planned to reflect the uniqueness of the driftless area. Dr. Wayne Weber, Dean of the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture said that Boebel Hall is going to be a space where students “learn science and do science.”
Dr. Weber described the plans for Boebel Hall as state of the art with a focus on hands-on experiences. They are expanding their cadaver lab, creating a new animal science room for hands-on experience with animals and a green roof. Dr. Weber said that the new layouts and facilities will greatly enhance their outreach work with local K-12 schools and the community, as well as the everyday classes taught to college students.
Sesquicentennial Hall is in the planning process, but I have been told that they are planning to leave building construction systems exposed throughout the building! They will not be covering up the behind-the-scenes mechanicals that most buildings hide in walls or ceilings. They are doing this so that students can observe and study the elements they are learning about in their engineering classes.
According to the university, the first visioning session for Sesquicentennial Hall included more than 30 members of the UW-Platteville campus community, the architect BWBR, UW System and the state Department of Administration. They are aiming for construction to start a year from now with occupancy in 2022.
These projects are worthwhile investments for taxpayers, UW Platteville students and their families. Nearly 75% of engineering graduates from UW Platteville stay in Wisconsin. UW Platteville continues to be rated one of the top values for higher education in the nation, recently being named the top public institution in the state for best value, according to the 2019 SmartAsset ratings. UW Platteville engineering students are employed by Wisconsin companies like the Kohler Co., Kimberly-Clark, Georgia-Pacific, Alliant Energy and more. When we invest in UW Platteville, we invest in Wisconsin.
As these projects continue moving forward, I will update you on their progress. I also encourage you to visit the UW Platteville website and social media to view videos and other commentary on the projects. They are doing a terrific job of keeping all of us informed and engaged in these exciting projects.
For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to Sen.Marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov. Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have any questions or need assistance with any state-related matters.
Marklein represents the 17th Senate District, which includes all or parts Grant, Green, Iowa, Juneau, Lafayette, Monroe, Richland, Sauk and Vernon counties. Marklein serves on the legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee and is Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue & Financial Institutions.