WHITEWATER – The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is anxiously awaiting final approval for plans to construct a new state of the art business building, currently No. 4 on the UW System building priority list.
Projected costs of the new Business and Economics building will be $30.5 million, including approximately $3.5 million in private fundraising by the campus. This project and other facilities plans were discussed during Thursday’s meeting of the UW System Board of Regents at UW-Whitewater.
New construction is necessary for UW-Whitewater to keep up with technology and competition in its nationally acclaimed business programs. Many of those programs are dispersed across campus, hindering the dynamic interaction that fosters innovation and growth.
“This new building will be a means to a great end,” said Chris Clements, dean of the College of Business and Economics. “This will lead to higher quality students, more partnering with business and industry and have a greater leveraging effect in attracting other sources of revenue at the state and federal level.”
The business college reaches far beyond the campus at Whitewater. Thousands of people, from business owners and manufacturers to entrepreneurs and employees, have relied on UW-Whitewater business expertise.
Services include the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center (WISC), and the Global Business Research Center (GBRC).
The new building will ultimately house a new Technology Center for Southeastern Wisconsin. It’s a concept that will bring together students, faculty and industry resources to provide technology and business support needs for small businesses in the region.
The new building will be roughly 120,000 square feet and house the instructional, academic support and community service programs for the college. Architectural plans have not been completed, but also being considered in the design are replica bell towers, matching those of the Old Main building that once served as the center of the campus, but was destroyed by fire in 1970.
The new walls of the facility will embrace a tradition virtually unmatched by any college in the country. Management Computer Systems has been ranked No. 1 in North America six times since 1984 by the Association of Information Technology Professionals. The accounting program ranks No. 1 in the nation over the last decade in students’ first time passage rate of the Uniform CPA Exam. And U.S. News and World Report named UW-Whitewater’s online MBA program one of the nation’s 25 best.
The construction of the new building is essential in the university’s long-term planning to increase services to students. Once the facility is constructed, Carlson Hall will be utilized by the College of Letters and Science and the Admissions Office, which are now located in three aging converted dormitories. McCutchan, Baker and Salisbury Halls would be razed because upgrading and remodeling has been deemed too costly and rejected by the state.
“When it comes to business education, we think we have the finest product out there,” UW-Whitewater Chancellor Jack Miller said. “We need to have a building that reflects that quality. The new business building is the linchpin of our entire plan for revitalizing the campus infrastructure.”
By razing the old dorms, the new business building would be seen as the cornerstone of the future additions on campus. It will be located just north of the Alumni Center and west of the University Center, and on the south side of Starin Road and the Visitor’s Center.
“Once Salisbury Hall alone is razed, imagine the view from the Visitor’s Center or as you drive along Starin Road,” said Jim Freer, Assistant Chancellor for Administrative Affairs. “The new business building would now become the center of the university, giving it a grand new look.”
Chris Clements, UW-Whitewater