WQOW (Eau Claire) – After months of advocating and pushing for a new science building, UW-Eau Claire leaders are getting their wish.
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will get a new Science and Health Sciences building in the near future thanks to state leaders. Tuesday night, the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved $109 million for the first phase of the new building in the 2019-21 state budget.
Leaders had been pushing to replace Phillips Science Hall for months. They had state legislators tour the facility, and the governor did too. They hoped to drive home the fact that it cost the university more than half a million dollars every year just to operate the building.
The new facility will be built on the site of Katherine Thomas and Putnam Hall dorms, which will be torn down. Assistant Chancellor for Facilities and University Relations Mike Rindo said the current Phillips Science Hall was built in the 60’s and the need for a new building gets more urgent every day. “It’s not a great place to do lab work in or teach modern science, but also from the perspective of its physical condition,” said Rindo.
Mayo Health Clinic has partnered with the university to fund the creation of a 10,000 square-foot shared research space in the new building, which university leaders said will draw more out-of-state students to UWEC.
The next step is to get the budget passed by the State Assembly, State Senate, and Governor Tony Evers. While the design and construction phases are quite a ways away, Rindo said bipartisan support will get the project to breaking ground within the next several years.