Regents approve Davies funding

The UW System Board of Regents approved the Davies Exploratory Committee’s request Friday for $48.8 million to rebuild Davies Center, an action that has UW-Eau Claire administrators and students optimistic for the future of the project.

In a unanimous vote, the Board added the project to its 2007-2009 Capital Budget request, which will now move on to the State Building Commission, the governor and then the state Legislature, said Student Senate Vice President Chris Nielson.

“(The regents) were very happy with the project, in general,” said Nielson, who also serves as co-chairman of the Davies committee. “We feel very confident to go forward with the project.”

The Board approved a similar plan for $8.5 million in 2000, but after consulting with architects, the committee discovered this cost would not cover the necessary changes, Nielson said.

Under the newest plan, the project would receive funding through a gradual increase in student segregated fees to a possible total of $125 a year for each student by 2010. Students now pay about $600 in segregated fees for the academic year.

Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich, who approved the plan in July, said he thinks a new student union, like any other building, would add value to the campus.

“This is the first step on the non-academic side, but there’s still a long way to go,” he said. “It was a tough job in planning it and a great effort by exploratory committee.”

Nielson also credited the efforts of those who have served on the committee, including graduating senior and committee co-chairman Anthony Frick, as well as past and present committee members.

“They worked very hard to get this through,” Nielson said. “It adds to all that the campus has to offer.”

Levin-Stankevich agreed.

“It will be nice to have a new centerpiece for the campus.”