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Local tech. school shows interest in Rodli

March 8, 2007

Students, staff and faculty have been talking about what will happen to the Rodli Commons building since its services were relocated to the University Center over winter break.

While the long-term plan for Rodli is still being discussed by administration, UW-River Falls is trying to find a temporary plan so it doesn’t stand empty for long.

Mary Halada, vice chancellor for administration and finance, said while the utilities in the building have been turned down to save on costs, she would prefer the space be occupied.

Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) in River Falls may be the solution to filling the space. The college has recently expressed interest in renting space in Rodli to use for classes. The college’s administrators toured the building Jan. 18 and again on March 5 to take a better look at the space to see if it suits the college’s needs.

Leslie Bleskachek, the River Falls CVTC campus manager, said no decisions have been made yet as to whether the college will use Rodli for classes, and probably won’t be for awhile.

“I think it is a possibility, but not a certainty,” Bleskachek said. “We have to think about what type of classes could be offered in the space.”

Bleskachek said CVTC is looking at the building because they have had space issues for awhile.

“To us, it’s an interesting space to look at because we need more space,” she said.

If CVTC does decide to hold some of its classes in Rodli, Bleskachek said classes could be held in there as soon as next fall.

“We would start out small and grow and grow some more [in Rodli],” Bleskachek said.

If CVTC were to decide to rent Rodli, Halada said it would help the University with its finances.

“If we can come up with a win-win situation here, they could use that space, pay us for that space and help offset our costs,” she said.

Alan Tuchtenhagen, associate vice chancellor for enrollment services, agreed.

“We want to generate revenue to keep the building running,” Tuchtenhagen said. “I don’t think the University needs all of Rodli right now, at least not in the short-term.”

UWRF student Ashley Schorn said she thought CVTC using Rodli was a good idea.

“I would say we are good on space, especially with [the new University Center],” she said. “There are rooms in there that aren’t even being used.”

A potential downside if CVTC were to offer classes in Rodli is limited parking.

Halada said while this may be a problem, there hasn’t been any conversations about it because UWRF doesn’t know CVTC’s needs.

Tuchtenhagen said after CVTC administrators decide to use the space or not, the University will know what to do next with Rodli.

“One possibility is to use Rodli for class space for our faculty,” Tuchtenhagen said. “After we see how much of the building they want to use, we can decide what we want to do with it. We would like to keep part of Rodli to use for classes one way or another.”

UWRF student Peter Wetzel said the idea of CVTC holding classes in Rodli was good, however, he thought the University’s gym was going to be relocated to Rodli.

“I heard they were going to put the gym in Rodli,” Wetzel said. “I would like to see it turned into a gym. For my personal interests, a gym in Rodli would be convenient.”

While the University waits to hear CVTC’s decision, administrators will continue to discuss plans for Rodli in the near and distant future.

“We are not going to shut the building down and padlock the doors,” Tuchtenhagen said.

Halada said right now there is discussion about using the River Room and Blue Room for UWRF classes next fall if CVTC does not use the space.

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