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Tuesday, August 03, 2021
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Gov. Evers’ proposal includes $88 million for a new Letters and Science academic building, which fits into the university’s plan to demolish the Mosse Humanities Building. The project would include the demolition of two residence halls. 

Evers recommends new L&S building, other campus projects in capital budget

Gov. Tony Evers recommended about $1 billion for building projects within the UW System as part of his nearly $2.4 billion Capital Budget unveiled Monday. 

At the UW-Madison campus, building projects would include Music Hall restoration, a new engineering facility, utilities renovation on Engineering Drive and a new College of Letters and Science building that relates to the university’s goal of demolishing the Mosse Humanities Building. 

“[The capital budget] is about our priorities — from investing in sustainable energy options and protecting our public lands, to supporting the growth of our UW campuses and students, to reforming our juvenile justice system, to investing in community development, this capital budget will have a far-reaching impact on our communities and our state for generations to come,” Evers said

Evers’ recommendations will go through the State Building Commission in mid-March and the Joint Committee on Finance in early April.  

Evers’ recommendations are about $275 million less than what the System requested in August. In the 2019-21 biennium, the UW System received $1,025,626,000 for projects, about $20 million more than Evers wants for 2021-23. 

Under Evers’ proposal, the UW System could receive about $88 million to create a new five-story “unified home” for the Department of History and nine other ethnic studies departments, programs and centers within the College of Letters and Science. 

The project would include “consolidating and co-locating spaces currently spread across eight facilities, including 432 East Campus Mall, Bradley Memorial Building, Helen C. White Hall, Ingraham Hall, Meiklejohn House, Mosse Humanities Building, Sterling Hall and Van Hise Hall.”

Susan B. Davis Hall and Zoe Bayliss Co-Op, which are located on the building site, would be demolished and a new parking structure would be built to the south of the site. 

The project is part of the university’s goal to “eventually vacate” and demolish the Humanities building, and later build two separate facilities at the foot of Bascom Hill.

The project justification notes that Mosse’s “poor functional and physical condition no longer supports long term continuous use, and its architectural and structural limitations, along with its inability to be upgraded to align with modern building codes and standards, prevent it from being renovated to meet the needs of modern educational programs.” 

The proposed schedule shows the new Letters and Science building project would begin in September 2025 and wrap up in January 2028. 

Other projects Evers approves include $26 million to restore Music Hall and $150 million to demolish the Computer Aided Engineering Facility and construct a new engineering facility. 

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Evers also recommends $71 million for replacement and renovations of utilities along Engineering Drive. 

“Completion of this project will decrease operating costs by improving the efficiency of steam piping insulation and reducing distribution losses. The oldest utilities in Engineering Drive range in age from 50 years to 100 years and some still serve the 1410 Engineering Drive Building which was constructed in 1938. Many of these utilities are approaching the end of their expected service life,” the project justification reads. 

Evers recommended deferring the requests for planning and design services for central steam utilities on the south central part of campus and Art Lofts addition and renovation. 

Last week, the state building commission approved $69 million for minor facilities projects on campus and within the UW System. 

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Hope Karnopp

state news writer

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