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University plans construction projects to improve campus

September 17, 2009

UW- River Falls is a “university to watch” according to Campus Planner Dale Braun and with 54 projects on his agenda, this campus is definitely one to keep an eye out for.

Some of the current projects going on include the renovation of the North Hall steps and the ventilation of the Kleinpell Fine Arts building.

There are many long term projects being planned, such as the South Fork Addition, new Health and Human Performance building, Ramer Field, enrollment services, the renovation of Cascade Avenue and a master plan.

Due to an increase in enrollment, the idea of an addition to the South Fork Suites was proposed. The South Fork Suites were originally designed to add a wing to each end of the building.

Director of Residence Life Sandra Scott- Deux and Braun went to Madison on September 8 to interview potential architects for the project. The addition will be designed primarily for sophomores and will be a combination of single and double rooms with a shared living area, bathrooms and a kitchenette.

There will be approximately 20 people on each floor of the addition and 40 per cluster, housing a total of 240 students. The architects should be selected by the end of the September, so construction can begin.

The project is expected to be completed and open for housing in the fall of 2012. The projected cost is $20 million.

“It’s really important that we get more student housing, especially with the enrollment going up,” junior Cami Bauer said.

The project of moving enrollment services is also one of great importance according to Braun. This will put admissions, financial aid, bursar and the registrar all in Hagestad Hall, creating a one stop service center for students. The project should be completed in 2011.

Another project important not only to the University but also to the River Falls community is the renovation of Cascade Ave. This project will include repaving the street as well as adding roundabouts at the intersections of second and sixth streets, medians for students to cross the street more safely and bike lanes. There will be public meetings held on campus in the near future regarding this project that is also set to be finished in 2011.

One of the biggest projects on Braun’s agenda is creating a new master plan to replace the last master plan that was proposed in 1968. The master plan’s purpose is to predict future plans of how the campus should allow for change in years to come. A firm has just been hired and the designing of the plan is set to begin this month.

With all the changes going on, this campus is a “symbol of hope” in a struggling economy, according to Braun.

“Historians will look back on this time as a period of great change for this campus,” Braun said.