State building commission authorizes Albertson Hall demolition
By Gazette staff
MADISON – The Wisconsin State Building Commission recently approved approximately $71 million in key projects across the state, including the authorization of the UWSP Albertson Hall demolition and construction of a data center, in anticipation of the new facility.
The funds are designed to address the “backlog of deferred maintenance and provide funding to begin the preliminary design of several important construction projects within state-owned facilities.”
“These projects are critical for modernizing our state’s infrastructure and helping to make sure our buildings are operating efficiently and safely,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “I’m grateful for the commission’s support for these important projects and look forward to continuing our work supporting and investing in infrastructure across our state.”
Other projects include: a new 100,000 gross square footage History Museum located on the Capitol Square at North Carroll Street and West Mifflin Street for the Wisconsin Historical Society; new Health Services Unit & Restrictive Housing Unit Expansion at Wisconsin Secure Program Facility and Security Improvements at Taycheedah Correctional Institution for the Department of Corrections; a new 340,000 gross square footage Engineering Building replacement in Madison for the University of Wisconsin System; several projects in five counties for the departments of Military Affairs, Natural Resources, and Veterans Affairs; a LED lighting and electrical upgrade project at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King in Waupaca; as well as other projects.
Funding for the project was approved last summer, at the full replacement cost of $96 million.
“Albertson has been a UW-Stevens Point priority because of the deteriorating condition of the structure, fire suppression and HVAC systems. During the pre-design phase, architects discovered additional structural issues that significantly increased renovation costs, exceeding 90 percent of the building’s value. When UW System President Tommy Thompson toured Albertson in (last) April, he called it the system’s top priority for replacement,” a UWSP release stated.
The total cost to renovate the facilities would come to about $90 million, while the cost to demolish the existing six-story building and construct an ADA-accessible replacement comes to about $96 million; which former UW System President Tommy Thompson said is not only important for safety, but also for recruitment.
“You walk up this winding (ramp); this is for handicapped students. How would you like to in the rain or the wind or in the snow try to traverse through that? How would you like that? Does that really impress you if you are going to be a prospective student or a visitor to this campus?” Thompson asked during his visit. “Absolutely, not.
“I want our universities to be a place of learning, safe for our students, and place of beauty; so that we can grow our campuses, and we can show the people the state of Wisconsin. What I’ve been saying for a long time, next to our people, the university of Wisconsin system is the best asset we have.
The Building Commission is chaired by Gov. Evers and made up of the following members: State Senator Janis Ringhand, State Senator Jerry Petrowski, State Senator André Jacque, State Representative Jill Billings, State Representative Rob Swearingen, State Representative Robert Wittke, and citizen member, Summer Strand.