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HHP inches closer to new building project

April 1, 2011

UW-River Falls got one step closer to getting the $63.5 million needed to build a new Health and Human Performance facility, after the State Building Commission gave approval on March 16, for “advance enumeration.”

To advance enumeration means UWRF has essentially “pre-approval” to do more extensive planning, which can be done while the funding gets approved by the Joint Finance committee and then by the State Legislature, said Blake Fry, special assistant to the chancellor.

The next phase of approval by the finance committee and legislature will take place over the next few months, a process that is expected to go smoothly, Fry said.

He added that rarely does something get rejected by the finance committee or the legislature after it has been approved for advanced enumeration.

“Starting this summer we can do design work,” said Fry.

After the preliminary designs for the building are done, the project will be bid out to an architect.

Actual construction of the building is not expected to take place until approximately September 2013.

The whole project is expected to cost $63.5 million, $50.5 million of which will come from the state. About $10 million will come from student segregated fees, and about $2 million will come from fundraising and donations.

UWRF has been trying to get the funds approved by the state for twelve years.

The current facilities, Karges and Nelson, are over 50 years old.

They are outdated and sections of the building have had to be closed due to safety.

Examples of problems with the current facilities include: poor ventilation causing temperature upwards of 100 degrees in the summer, ceiling and wall disrepair, lack of adequate space, not enough ceiling height to host regional or national events, and an underlying concrete floor that causes injuries to athletes and users.

The HHP program is one of the largest majors at UWRF, according to the admissions office.

More than 13 percent of the student body is currently pursuing either a major or minor in the HHP program. More than 3,000 students take HHP courses every year.

UWRF also boasts a high involvement rate in intramural sports, with more than 51 percent of the student body participating, according to the HHP building funds information sheet.

The proposed facilities would not only allow more space for HHP classes to be held, they offer modern technology that will enhance learning in the HHP department.

The new HHP center will include many new assets, such as new classrooms and a human performance laboratory for biomechanics, exercise physiology, and motor development.

The new building will house a new gymnasium designed to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s standards to host games, as well as seating for 3,000 spectators. 

The new center will also include a wellness center and dance and aerobics studios.

As well as demolishing the old buildings and creating a new building, the plan also includes renovation and beautification of the outside, including additional parking areas being built.