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Falcon Center construction begins in spring

October 10, 2014

It may just be a giant hole in the ground now, but construction for the Falcon Center is right on track.

The new $64 million health and human performance building is one of the biggest projects in UW-River Falls history.

There is a lot of work being done at the future site of the Falcon Center, but actual construction will not take place until the spring after a wining bid is placed on the building.

Once the Falcon Center goes up for bid, construction companies from around the area will make an estimation of what they will be charging to build it. Once UWRF receives all of its bids they will select the company they want to construct the building.

Executive Director of Facilities Planning and Management Michael Stifter said that they are hoping that the bid will be equal to the planned budget and that construction will begin on the Falcon Center in late April or early May 2015.

Stifter says that the project is currently on phase one which is Ramer Field and the surrounding area.

Phase two, which is the actual Falcon Center, will be started in the spring.

One of the first things to be renovated was Ramer Field, where UWRF and the River Falls High School play their football games. The turf was not ready for the beginning of the season, which was expected.

“When we did decide to go ahead with the project we knowingly knew we were going to miss a couple of games, for the high school as well as the Falcons,” Stifter said.

There have been a few bumps in the road as the project has moved forward, but nothing major. On Sept. 5, 2014, a gas line was hit during construction and Hunt Arena, as well as the Knowles Center, were evacuated for a short period of time.

On Oct. 1, there was a severed telephone cable that lead into a press box at Ramer Field. The cable was repaired later that week.

“Fortunately we have only had a few mini crises,” Stifter said.

Stifter went on to say that he is hoping that there will be no major problems and that everything will stay on track.

“They’re a little bit behind in some aspects and ahead in others. Overall, I’d say that we’re right where we want to be.” Stifter said.

Phase one of construction is hoping to continue until around Dec. 1, but with the harsh winters that Wisconsin has been having over the past few years it may be easier said than done.

“If we have a light fall and light winter we’d get the work done, but we haven’t had that in maybe twenty years. So, we’ll se what fate has in store for us,” Stifter said.

Prior to Dec. 1, there are a lot of things that Facilities Planning and Management are hoping to get done. It hopes that work gets started on the retention ponds as well as roadways and utility work. It is also hoping to tear into the practice fields to build a bigger parking lot.

The budget for the Falcon Center is set at $64 million, but it will not be known if the project falls under the budget until a bid is selected in early December 2014.

The Falcon Center is scheduled to be open in August 2017.