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UWRF officials hope sci-tech center to get funding

Falcon News Service

March 31, 2021

Construction of highly anticipated $117 million Science and Technology Innovation Center for UW-River Falls, part of the state’s capital budget proposed by Gov. Tony Evers, may have to wait just a bit longer.

Campus officials are predicting the building may be completed by as early as 2025.

But the State Building Commission failed during a March 17 meeting to come to an agreement on the governor’s capital budget, which totals $2.4 billion. The proposal now moves to the Joint Finance Committee, where the package is expected to be challenged by Republican lawmakers.

Campus Planner Dale Braun is in charge of overseeing the planning of new buildings at UW-River Falls campus.

“If all goes well, we will hopefully be opening the building by the spring of 2025,” Braun said. “That’s when I estimate, but this is a big building.”

The plan that was proposed to the UW-System is that the new building replace Hagestad Hall and will be the new home to four science-related departments: psychological sciences, physics, chemistry and biotechnology, and biology.

The new building would feature many new spaces for students. Braun said, “We have a neat collection of spaces that we are calling the university business collaboration space, and what that is is it gives students the opportunity to work on real-world problems with our partners in the business industry.”

Chief of Staff Beth Schommer is anticipating that whether the full budget is approved will be known by June.

“Once the governor has finished making any edits to the budget bill, he will sign it into law and that will become our budget and that is usually hopefully by the end of June so at that point we would know the fate of our project,” she said.

The building will resemble the architecture and design of newer buildings on campus such as the University Center, Rodli Hall and the Falcon Center. Once the approval process is concluded there is still a time period for planning and designing before the actual construction for the building begins