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Current UW-River Falls renovations show signs of productivity on campus

September 19, 2014

A number of renovations are currently underway on the UW-River Falls campus. These renovations include improvements to North Hall, Ramer Field, Division of Technology Services (DoTS) and Rodli Hall.

The state has given UWRF money from the Instructional Space Improvement Program to renovate the North Hall auditorium. This program will pay for the majority of the project, and the rest is paid for by the university. “The State has what they call an Instructional Space Improvement Program that funds projects like these,” said Mike Stifter, executive director of facilities, planning and management.

The North Hall auditorium has not been in use due to lack of technology and poor accessibility, but after renovations it is planned to be used for larger audiences, similar to South Hall 120.

“The auditorium has been used for nearly the 100 years it has been in existence,” said Stifter. “However, it not been very widely used anymore due to the lack of technology, ill-fitting seats, poor HVAC (cooling in particular) and poor accessibility. This project should correct most of those problems or significantly impact them positively.”

UWRF’s need for expansion is restrained by the South Fork Kinnickinnic River and its floodplain. The plan is to utilize the space the school does currently have and make it more efficient.

The university will maximize the utilization of existing spaces before new classrooms, labs, offices, library and physical plant spaces are constructed, according to the campus master plan.

The campus master plan is a twenty-year vision, comprised of small incremental projects. There are future plans to renovate Rodli Hall into campus offices that focus on students and campus visitors, according to the campus master plan.

The Sept. 5, Knowles Center gas leak has not halted construction to Ramer Field and no one was injured. River Falls High School and UWRF will lose two football games each due to construction. Stifter says construction should be done before both the high school and UWRF have their homecomings. UWRF’s homecoming will take place on Oct. 4. Ramer Field hasn’t been updated since its installment in the mid 1960s.

It lacks functionality and appearance; new renovations will correct these problems. The visual representation of what Ramer Field could become prompted more improvement ideas, including: replacing the field lighting, constructing a pro-shop retail venue, planting screening trees around the site, and construction of a new press box with VIP suites, according to the Ramer Field site master plan.

Ramer Field renovation plans are estimated at $4 million. The UWRF Foundation is using private fundraising to pay for the plan.

DoTS has conveniently moved to Davee Library after being temporarily located in Hagestad Hall. It has been moved to the library for better accessibility for students. DoTS was only supposed to be temporarily based in Hagestad for 18 months but that turned into years. “The opportunity for them to capture that service function in Davee and bring their entire organization together was a motivating factor,” said Stifter. “Hagestad was always a short-term option, Davee has always been the long-term.”

With current renovations and future projects planned, it is anticipated to be a very productive year for UWRF.