Striking a balance between realistic problem solving and environmental awareness, Central Wisconsin Engineers Inc. is in the process of weighing pros and cons to the proposed construction of a new science building.
The building is slated for construction where Lot X currently is and will cost upwards of $75 million. This four-story, 172,000 square foot building will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design compliant, meaning the U.S Green Building Council has approved and rated the building’s efficiency.
In addition to improving research with better technology, the new facility aims to increase enrollment and decrease the number of students not graduating in four years.
Remodeling existing buildings was considered as an alternative. Removing the C-wing of the science building and connecting the Trainer Natural Resources building to the science building was proposed, but ultimately, it seemed new construction was the best route.
Project Manager Jay Knoke met with some of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Steering Committee and community members to give a short overview of the project.
Knoke was a representative from CWE Inc., and the group’s job was to be an objective, third-party when it came to the Environmental Impact Statement.
“There are two tracks. The environmental planning and the architectural planning,” said Carl Rasmussen, the director of facilities planning, “We are hoping that it times out well.”
As it stands, the process is around 15 percent complete. The actual construction plans and environmental impact are kept separate but are progressing simultaneously. Rasmussen estimated the project would be closer to 40 percent complete by the summer.
Part of what goes into the environmental planning is aesthetics. While the removal of Lot X will certainly complicate the parking situation, it was not the only issue. An EIS is a full disclosure document that takes into account all the effects of a project, whether they are biological, cultural, social or economic.
CWE Inc. has expressed their desire to be transparent about the entire process, and all statements will be made available online, with physical copies made available to county libraries. They also have a section for comments.
Concerns with construction are justified, but it was apparent that something had to be done. Mounting issues over graduation times and declining enrollment demanded action.