Building projects limit number of bike racks

Story by Bridget Cooke, Staff Writer

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The construction on UW-Eau Claire’s campus has changed the bike routes of students and staff, and while it’s only a slight inconvenience, bikers are having to make do with the new parking accommodations.

Senior Conor Rafferty rides his bike to campus every day. He said because of the construction and a new route, it does take a few more minutes to get to his classes, but he thinks the crews are being respectful of the students and campus.

“Since I lived here in the summer, I’m kind of used to it, but I think they’ve been doing a good job for the small area that they’re working in,” Rafferty said.

He said the racks set up outside of Schneider Hall are a nice replacement for the permanent ones, even though he feels it takes longer to get to class because of their location.

Assistant Chancellor for Facilities and University Relations Mike Rindo said the new parking spaces for bicycles on the south side of Schneider Hall are a temporary aid.

“Over the spring and the summer, we worked closely with facilities management, facilities planning and parking and transportation to take a look at what we thought we would need for the duration of the construction,” Rindo said.

When the new education building is finished, 185 new permanent U-shaped bike racks, that hold two bicycles per rack, will be placed on campus, which increases the total to 370 new bike parking spaces.

In the plan for construction of the new education building, 264 permanent bike racks were removed in order to begin the project. To be able to meet the need of the students, they replaced those with the 216 portable bike racks found on the other side of Schneider.

Rindo said the construction is part of a 20-year master plan spanning from 2010 to 2030, which includes jobs such as the Confluence Project, the newly erected Davies Center, the education building, the new residence hall on upper-campus and even a plan to reconfigure the footbridge to help encourage a more pedestrian-friendly area and limit vehicle use on Garfield Avenue.

“This campus went for a number of years without a lot of significant construction and we had some very demonstrated needs,” Rindo said.

As part of this plan, there was a space needs analysis conducted. Its results showed that Eau Claire was in need of more space and more up-to-date facilities. The old Davies Center did not have enough room for the number of students using it, and the campus school was not sufficient enough to meet the educational needs on campus.

The new building will not only allow for more area and a  friendlier space for parking bikes, but will also include new classrooms which were specifically designed to be highly utilized as a modern space.

The construction on the new education building is due to be finished in fall of 2013, bringing with it the new U-shaped racks and more promised space for bikers to park.

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