Philip Gelatt: Fieldhouse for UW-La Crosse promotes ego, not fitness
editor's pick

Philip Gelatt: Fieldhouse for UW-La Crosse promotes ego, not fitness

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Once again, the team of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow and Vice Chancellor Bob Hetzel are feeding their egos to the detriment of the UW-L students and parents and most importantly the city of La Crosse.

A new fieldhouse at $49 million with half paid by students — a silent increase on already high tuition costs that add more student debt. But above all, the death of Emerson School is in their sights as UW-L needs parking for this new building.

Once that is done, the Emerson neighborhood becomes student slums and parents have to drive their children to the poorly sited North Woods school.

Anyone donating to this new building will be paying for the destruction of La Crosse neighborhoods. Stop the construction of this Gow and Hetzel palace.

Philip Gelatt, La Crosse


Editor's note: Here is a response from Bob Hetzel, UW-L's vice chancellor for administration and finance: 

"The State Building Commission and UW System Board of Regents recently provided final approval for UW-L to proceed with construction of a new Fieldhouse that will be located on the east side of the Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex. The Fieldhouse is intended to replace the current fieldhouse that was built in 1972 as an addition to Mitchell Hall, which opened in 1966. Both of those buildings were funded at that time by the state of Wisconsin.

UW-L began planning for the new Fieldhouse in 2014 and because the state is no longer able to fund these type of facilities, a student referendum was held in October of that year and 3,656 students voted with 56% approving the use of student fees to fund half the cost of the project.

The Fieldhouse will be used by students for Athletics, Campus Recreation and Exercise & Sport Science. The parking for events at the new Fieldhouse will be managed in the same way as current UW-L sporting events by using the Mitchell and Stadium parking lots.

The Building Commission and Regents have approved more than $400 million in capital building projects for UW-L during the past decade. This investment has allowed the university to grow and maintain enrollment while providing students from across Wisconsin with a high-quality education.

Building projects like the Fieldhouse, Prairie Springs Science Center and Centennial Hall help to ensure that UW-L remains a vibrant institution and that it will continue to contribute to the economic vitality of the La Crosse community."

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