The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Local firm to assess Davies

Although the extremities of the expansion process are yet to be determined, Ayres Associates, the Eau Claire-based architectural/engineering firm, has been selected to conduct a planning study to assess the current and future needs of the Davies Center.

Students meet the idea of expansion with mixed reactions.

“I think we have enough open areas in Davies,” said senior Katie Egli. “I’ve never had a problem finding places to sit. Even if they do expand, I will not stay in Davies (on breaks). I’d rather go home.”

Despite Egli’s remarks, students, through a referendum in the spring of 2000, voted in support of the $8.5 million project.

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Andy Soll, vice chancellor for business and student services, said the ultimate goal by the end of the school year is for the study to evaluate and refine what changes need to be made within the Davies Center

Soll said within the expansion, he and other members of the campus community will be looking at the renovation of existing space as opposed to just looking at creating new space.

“As we look at a better definition of (expansion) needs, the addition could become larger or smaller,” he said.

By the end of the school year, Soll said a program statement will be developed, outlining exactly what will go into each existing and newly constructed room, from wall to wall and ceiling to floor. From there, he said architects will look at the program statement and translate what actions need to be taken to begin construction.

Student Senate president Andy Oettinger said one of his goals he would like to see accomplished with the Davies expansion is to make it more “student-friendly with an addition of open spaces.”

Oettinger said he would like to see the the creation of, “a less sterile environment.”

Davies Center is about 130,000 square feet. Soll said the expansion could add an estimated 42,000 square feet.

“We’ll look at how the design is working by the end of this year with the program statement, which will pretty much set what will be in the total facility,” Soll said.

Soll said the vast majority of money used to fund the Davies expansion will come from Student fees. Other funding proceeds will be generated by operations within the Davies Center.

Funds that come from within the Davies Center could be money generated from such units as manual food service and the university book store.

Soll said an important message is that the building will receive no support from state tax dollars.

“This will be totally on the backs of students who actually use the facility,” he said.

With a finished program statement by April, Soll estimated that the design stage would take a year, followed by bidding on the project and leading to eventual construction.

Soll said he estimates that construction will likely begin by the spring of 2004, but said nothing is set in stone.

Soll said that Ayres Associates chosen was from more than a dozen companies that were up for the selection process.

The firm is listed 210th among the top 500 architectural/engineering firms in the nation by Engineering News-Record, a professional journal covering business and technical news for the construction industry.

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Local firm to assess Davies