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Construction plans revamp campus

March 10, 2019

The sun sets on the Rodli construction site. (Dawson Flaherty/Student Voice)
The sun sets on the Rodli construction site. (Dawson Flaherty/Student Voice)

Every year, students enroll to UW-River Falls to start or continue their college education. During a students time on campus, they most likely will observe renovations or construction in one way or another.

Over the past six or so months, many that live on the east side of campus have had to walk by the construction site at David Rodli Hall. Currently David Rodli Hall is the largest renovation project on campus, however there are a variety of other projects taking place, as well as plans for future change.

David Rodli Hall opened in 1968, and was used for dining services up until 2007, when the University Center opened. After 2007, David Rodli Hall became a place for some laboratories, classrooms, and even storage. Construction began in the fall of 2018.

The current renovation taking place in David Rodli Hall aims to make the building more useful to the university. Executive Director of Facility Management Alan Symicek said, “It’s being converted into a… Student Success Center.”

On the university website there is a floor plan for what David Rodli Hall is planned to look like after the renovation, as well as a diagram showing about 14 different departments currently scattered around campus that will be moving into the space.

Another renovation currently happening on campus is the overhaul of the Dairy Pilot Plant located in the Agricultural Science Building. The plant was built back in 1983. The renovation is planned to be completed by the end of 2019. It will be larger and include more modern equipment. Symicek said, “When [students] get out into the workforce and to their employers, it’s going to be much more transferable. They will work on modern equipment here and they will be working on modern equipment out there.”

The university always seems to be renovating or building something new, however the only reason that this is possible is due to planning. This summer, McMillan Hall will be getting an overhaul. Symicek said, “We are going to do a major renovation of the restrooms on all floors, the bathrooms it will get new showers facilities and HVAC in the building.”

Another upcoming project would be an electrical substation project. The goal for this project is to replace the equipment that distribute electricity throughout campus to all the university buildings. The equipment that is currently in use is over 30 years old and at the end of its life, so the plan is to start replacing the equipment over the course of the next two years.

May Hall is also set to have a renovation starting this summer with the demolishing of Nelson Center marking the start. Nelson Center’s demolition is also the final phase of the Falcon Center project. The plan is to build a lobby for May Hall, as well as an elevator, where the Nelson Center currently is. Symicek said, “Basically the idea behind that is to make May Hall ADA compliant, so that if we have people with disabilities they can get in and out of the building.”

Beyond the new addition, May Hall is also getting a new heating system and the basement is going to be renovated as well.

Looking to the distant but not too distant future is the Science and Technology Innovation Center. This is a more recent project that is still in the planning and funding phase, but looks promising for future students. Symicek said,”The governor just released his proposed capital budget for this year, and he did, just in the last day or two, he did propose a million dollars for planning of that facility. However, that still has to make its way through the legislature, get voted on, then make its way back to the governor.”   

The building is planned to house the biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology departments  

As for what comes after the Science and Technology Innovation Center it’s anyone’s guess. The university will continue to renovate facilities as it sees fit, and build new facilities to replace older ones. The university continues to expand and evolve to better meet the needs of students.