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

New Davies design to get consideration

Progress on the Davies Center Redevelopment Project could begin to move forward rapidly if the UW-Eau Claire Steering Committee gains approval on a new design from UW System Buildings Representative David Miller, Student Body President Michael Umhoefer said.

And if not, it could be delayed quite a bit.

The proposed design would move the new Davies Center building east. This would cause it to impede on a 160-foot parameter around Phillips designated for its expansion, according to the Committee’s Dec. 3. meeting minutes. Phillips Science Hall is supposed to have an expansion to the west sometime in the next 10 to 15 years, Umhoefer said, adding that it will come after the new education building is built.

Umhoefer said the new student center was originally just going to be an expansion project but that the cost to bring everything up to code was too high and a new building would be more cost effective. So, if the space is not needed for an expansion, then it could be used for the new Davies Center.

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“The UW System is saying you have to keep this barrier for expansion, we’re saying if we can move into that territory that makes it far easier for this building to move forward and in a quick way,” Umhoefer said.

The committee has to be able to prove they need to impede on the 160-foot barrier, so the design team has now been assigned to come up with two rough outlines of buildings that would fit in the original designated area, Umhoefer said.

Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich will get those design options and then talk with Miller, who is in charge of all construction projects in the UW System. At that time, Umhoefer said, the final call will be made if the building project can impede on the land designated for the Phillips expansion or that it cannot. If it cannot, then one of the designs using the land already designated for the new Davies must be used.

The decision on whether the 160-foot area can be impeded could come as soon as sometime next week, but will for sure be made by the time the committee meets again for their Jan. 17 meeting, Umhoefer said.

He said that if the project is not granted permission to impede, then the committee would have to modify it to fit the area which is specifically designated for the new student center. That would mean a whole redesign and more money being put into the project. The committee plans on meeting often over winter break to work on whatever the course of action ends up being, Umhoefer said.

“I feel confident we will be able to move into the 160 feet,” Umhoefer said. “I think that’s the best option for everybody.”

Another point of discussion for the committee is that the trees surrounding the new student center will be cut down over winter break. This will be done because it is the time of year when there are no nesting birds in the trees. The lumber will then be sold to a local person, Umhoefer said, who will use it to do intricate wood work that will then be purchased by the university and be placed in the new Davies center building.

The committee also looked at the Council Oak. The committee plans to place a fence to protect the area around the tree. Both the Department of American Indian Studies and Facilities, Planning and Management will have access to the area.

“It’s to keep off the site,” Umhoefer said, “and to make sure we don’t have anything driving over it.”

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New Davies design to get consideration