MADISON — A $49 million project that constructs a fieldhouse, indoor track and soccer facilities on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus cleared its final hurdle Thursday with the State Building Commission’s approval.
UW-La Crosse Vice Chancellor Bob Hetzel looked back at years of planning and a $17 million budget increase that will transform the east side of the campus.
“We didn’t know that it would take six years but I’m delighted today to be over that final hurdle,” Hetzel said.
Funding is split 50-50 between an increase in segregated fees students approved in 2014 and university program revenue.
The project is expected to create about 800 construction jobs. Construction is scheduled to begin in October and be completed by December 2022, according to the university.
“We’ve been planning on this for six years and accumulating funds which is how we’ve been able to afford the financing” without using tax dollars, Hetzel said.
At this point, the Fieldhouse will simply be called the Fieldhouse, but naming rights are available to a suitable donor the UW-La Crosse Foundation can locate, Hetzel said.
The Mitchell Hall Fieldhouse is so undersized that the track teams couldn’t hold NCAA-sanctioned competitions. Despite not having home meets, the men’s and women’s track teams have still won a combined 19 Division III national titles in recent years, Hetzel said.
“Now there will be a first-class facility for a premier program in the country.” he said.
The new fieldhouse will be built just east of Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex and will encompass a six-lane, 200-meter, NCAA-approved track.
The infield of the track will have a synthetic surface durable enough for track field events, baseball and softball practice, intramural soccer, volleyball, basketball and floor hockey.
The first phase of the project was installed two years ago with artificial turf playing fields, adjacent to the new fieldhouse location, for women’s soccer and lacrosse. The new fieldhouse adds restrooms, locker rooms, an officials’ room, and storage areas for the women’s soccer and lacrosse programs.
A second level will have a three-lane walking/jogging track that will be used as a lab for the Exercise and Sports Science Program, plus student open recreation space.
The new fieldhouse, the second phase of the project, relieves pressure on the overcrowded Eagle Recreation Center, which was visited last year by 93 percent of the student population.
“So intercollegiate athletics, intramural sports and Exercise Science will have a premier facility to use for decades to come,” Hetzel said.
Renovating Mitchell Hall is the third phase of the $49 million project. It will be converted to space for gymnastics practice, wrestling practice and the growing Exercise and Sports Science Program.
Gymnastics practice space will be relocated to the Cartwright Center until Mitchell Hall’s renovation is completed. Wrestling practice space in renovated Mitchell Hall will expand from 2,800 square feet to 6,500 square feet.
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Dylan Bates, 1999, physical therapy
Barry Beaty, 1971, biology
Jason Church, 2011, political science
Russell Cleary, 1951-53, pre-law
Darryle Clott, 1966, English and history; 1971, masters of education
Barbara Gibson, 1978, physical education/teaching
Brian Gutekunst, 2016, sports management
Roger Harring, 1958, physical education/teaching
Amy Huchthausen, 1999, sports management
Theodore Knudson, 1960, general and physical science
Sandra Lee, 1983-85
Patricia Loew, 1974, mass communications
Truman Lowe, 1969, art education
Greg Mahairas, 1982, microbiology
Cynthia Marten, 1988, elementary education
Bill Miller, 2010, honorary degree
Hollie Nyseth Brehm, 2008, sociology
Jon Otterstatter, 1983, computer science
James Reynolds, 1977, political science
Andrew Rock, 2004, finance
Jennifer Shilling, 1992, political science
Barbara Skogen, 1967, medical technology
Patrick Stephens, 1971, education
Christopher Sund, 1987, political science
Dan Smyczek, 1993, political science
James Van Tassel, 1951, education
Sharon Weston Broome, 1978, mass communications
Did you know the director of "Rebel Without a Cause" and the first black American to compete in the Olympics both have ties to La Crosse?
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