Expectations of University officials for the new Falcon Center Athletic complex are high as the project continues to take steps toward a 2016 completion date. The project will replace the Karges Center and the Nelson Center and will also focus on upgrading those facilities and improve the University’s athletic department. The Karges Center was constructed in 1959 and the Nelson Center was built in 1963.
“You’re going to see more than just normal upgrades in this new project,” said UW-River Falls Athletic Director Roger Ternes. “The plan is to build a new competition gym, an auxiliary gym, fitness center, multi-purpose activity studios, locker rooms, offices, classrooms and health and human performance labs.”
Those improvements are just the beginning of a long list of things the University is looking to add in the project.
Director of Recreation and Sports Facilities Steve Stocker is one of many University officials excited for what the expansion of the project will bring.
“One of the weakest parts of our campus is the scarcity of space to do what so many user groups like to do,” said Stocker. “So if we build this space properly and add more space, we will have a lot more program flexibility for everyone using the space.”
Space may have to be opened up to add important aspects like the planned addition of around 300 parking stalls.
“The complex currently has around 400 spaces, but were looking to have around 700,” said Ternes.
Parking, road access and rainwater runoff are just a few of the concerns as the project goes through its design phase.
“We still have some things to look at in terms of where rainwater will go and if we should add another entry to the complex,” added Ternes.
With UWRF growing as a university and the additions South Fork Suites and Ames Hall, the addition of the Falcon Center will add to an already improving UWRF campus. “This is going to help us with recruitment of students, this is going to help us with retention of students,” explained Stocker. “Students that come here are going to stay here because they are going to find a home here.”
The $63.5 million project is being designed by Ayres Associates based out of Eau Claire, Wis. and Hastings & Chivetta, a design firm from St. Louis, Mo. Hastings and Chivetta’s portfolio includes Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota and the Williams Center at UW-Whitewater. Around $50 million for the project is from the state of Wisconsin and just over $2 million will be paid through gifts given to the UWRF Foundation. The remainder of the funding comes from student fees.
Design talks are underway for the project and firm representatives have been on campus for workshops discussing the project that Ternes believes will help UWRF be one of the most appealing in the area.
“We believe that we will have a facility that will be second to none in terms of afordability and value,” Ternes said, “This will be one of the great locations in the 100 mile metro area and we’re really excited about it.”
If you would like to learn more about the Falcon Center project visit uwrf.edu/falconcenter.