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UW-River Falls enrollment center awaiting approval

October 23, 2008

UW-River Falls administration officials are planning to combine the offices of admissions, registrars, financial aid and accounts receivable into one location in Hagestad Hall that would be known as the enrollment services center.  The center will serve to expedite and improve the enrollment process for students, Campus Planner Dale Braun said.

The proposal calls for about 20 thousand square feet of space and will cost approximately $4 million, Braun said.

The new facility would allow students to speak with a staff member who has been trained in a broad area of enrollment services.

Students will be able to ask questions at a single transaction center as opposed to having to ask questions at the four different offices spread throughout North and South Halls.

“Co-location and integration allow staff to become more efficient so that we can do our work better” Alan Tuchtenhagen, associate vice chancellor for enrollment services, said.

The project is awaiting acceptance by the UW System Board of Regents. Upon acceptance it will be presented to the Wisconsin legislature and must attain final approval with the governor. Project approval is expected by July 2009. Construction would begin sometime next year and take about six months, Braun said.

The new enrollment center would be located where the cafeteria once resided in the east side of Hagestad Hall.  The plan is part of a larger University initiative to develop Hagestad into a student support services hub. Textbook Services moved to Hagestad and there are plans to move more services in when the athletic center receives a new building, Tuchtenhagen said.

The University hopes to have the building fully transitioned within the next four years, he said.

“There really are no cons to the proposal,” Mark Meydam, director of admissions said. “It provides one place for students to go to do business and helps create synergy between the four offices.”

The cost is an issue the University feels is minimal compared to the benefits, he said. The student senate approved the $4 million proposal which is allocated from student fees.

UWRF staff currently working in the four offices subject to convergence should be accommodated for in the enrollment center project. The University is working with an architect to make sure that all staff can fit, Sandra Oftedahl, director of financial aid, said.

Singular student support centers are a common trend across the country. The University of Minnesota is a classic example of the trend, and a consultant from the University of Minnesota helped UWRF draft the proposal, Tuchtenhagen said.

“We’re excited, it can’t happen fast enough,” Meydam said. “The proposal has unanimous support from the different areas involved.”

The University will inform students once the approval process is completed. New students will be sent material during the summer detailing the changes.

Posters and pamphlets will be spread across the campus; the plan is to work through RAs and provide more information to students online, Tuchtenhagen said.

“The whole goal is to make the student experience much better,” Braun said. “We believe it will be a great convenience to students.”