State News

Several UW-Madison building repair requests deferred in Walker’s capital budget proposal

Slichter Hall’s renovation proposal is one of the several campus proposals deferred in the capital budget. Post-occupancy student satisfaction surveys reveal that this facility receives the lowest scores of all on-campus housing facilities.

Image By: Erik Franze

Multiple UW-Madison building project requests have been deferred, according to Gov. Scott Walker’s capital budget proposal.

The Department of Administration released the proposal Tuesday, which outlines the 2017-19 spending on public buildings. In total, Walker is recommending $803 million with roughly $450 million in new borrowing for building projects throughout the state.

The Capital Budget recommends long-range public building projects, which affect a number of communities throughout the state.

On campus, the budget deferred Slichter Hall’s $15,210,000 renovation proposal. Slichter Hall has one of the lowest returning student ratios on campus and post-occupancy student satisfaction surveys reveal that this facility receives the lowest scores of all on-campus housing facilities.

Additionally, the building infrastructure, such as its heating system, does not have fire protection mechanisms.

Walnut Street Greenhouse’s renovations were also deferred.

According to the grant, “a recent survey of plant science faculty in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences indicated a need for additional campus greenhouse space that would support cutting edge contemporary research. With new research breakthroughs, such as gene mapping and synthetic biology, experiments have increased in size and require space with more sophisticated environmental controls.”

The Walnut Street Greenhouse could fill this need, according to the grant.

All the campus greenhouses have been upgraded since 1983 except the ones on Walnut Street.

Additionally, the Lowell Center’s request for renovation was approved, but will fund itself with residual bonding.

Throughout UW System as a whole, however, Walker’s funding proposal has been praised by university leaders.

“We carefully developed a reasonable capital budget plan to perform a limited amount of work each year at a steady pace,” UW System President Ray Cross said in a statement.

Cross and UW-Madison spokesman Meredith McGlone mentioned that the longer maintenance in deferred, the more expensive it becomes.

The $450 million in new borrowing is different from the $500 million Walker proposed to borrow for transportation projects.

“The Operating and Capital Budgets propose the lowest combined authorizations in 20 years,” Walker said. 

This capital budget would be the state’s lowest in spending on building projects in 10 years and lowest amount of borrowing for projects in 20 years. 

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