The Wisconsin State Building Commission approved over $340 million Wednesday for new statewide projects.
The initiative includes construction of new juvenile facilities, improvement of Wisconsin State parks as well as significant maintenance and construction changes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“From investing in our state buildings and higher education institutions to renovating cornerstone establishments… each of these projects will support jobs, bolster our economy, and improve the quality of life here in Wisconsin,” Gov. Evers said in a press release Wednesday.
Notable UW-Madison projects approved include releasing funds for the construction of Levy Hall — the proposed new College of Letters and Science academic building — the Veterinary Medicine Addition and Renovation project and the Chemistry Buildings Addition and Renovation project.
The current Mosse Humanities building, constructed in 1966, is rapidly deteriorating. Its demolition will make way for research connections and a modernized learning experience on campus, according to UW-Madison.
“For many students and alumni, the George L. Mosse Humanities Building is a rite of passage — its confusing passageways, windowless classrooms and claustrophobic, bunker-like ceilings presenting a universal hardship that almost everyone experiences at least once,” reads the UW-Madison Letters and Sciences website. “The costs of repairing and maintaining the building now and into the future are projected to at least equal the cost of a new building.”
Levy Hall will replace the Mosse Humanities building and aims to better centralize the College of Letters and Sciences department, according to UW-Madison.
Sen. André Jacque, R-De Pere, a member of the State Building Commission, told The Daily Cardinal Thursday he was “proud” to help advance “long-awaited state projects.” Jacque specifically praised new youth prisons planned for Dane and Milwaukee Counties.
With these facilities, the commission aims to eventually close the state’s outdated and rural facilities and move youth closer to their homes. The facilities will replace Wisconsin’s long-troubled Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls near Irma.
The commission also greenlighted the Cream Puff Pavilion Renovation project at State Fair Park in Milwaukee. The building is one of the oldest in the park, and renovations will include a single-story addition, energy-efficient lighting and ADA accessibility.
Also approved was a new Health Services Unit for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, which will provide in-facility medical care for a growing population of incarcerated people with chronic conditions.
Additionally, 28 different maintenance and repair projects were authorized for DOC as well as the state Department of Health Services, Department of Military Affairs, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Transportation and the UW System.
“The commission also authorized maintenance and repair projects across the University of Wisconsin System,” said Sen. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan. “I was proud to work on the 2023-25 Wisconsin State Budget which authorized the funds for these projects.”