Thursday was the official start for the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point’s new Chemistry and Biology building.
The $70 million project took years of planning and working with the state Legislature, Governor, and Building Commission to get it approved. Chancellor Bernie Patterson said getting a new state of the art science facility is a milestone for the 102 year old university. “This is our first free-standing academic building, new one, in over forty years,” he said.
UW System President Ray Cross, several legislators, members of the steering committee and the Building Commission, and Governor Scott Walker addressed the crowd. Walker commended UWSP officials for their efforts to bring this building through the approval process. “Going forward, we’re going to focus on good projects like this. We were certainly pleased to approve it going through the Legislative process with the budget I signed, but ultimately through the Building Commission, you (Chancellor Patterson) mentioned, not once, but twice.”
Patterson said the new facility will have state-of-the-art chemistry labs and many of the biology courses, meaning every UWSP student will have an opportunity to attend classes in the new center. “Every student that passes through our halls will have an opportunity to take classes in this building, whether you’re in the business school, or the school of education, of the history department, it doesn’t matter. It will impact every student here.”
Construction is underway, and crews are preparing to pour footings already. Weather permitting, it should be ready in about two years.
Walker was not a welcome sight to many students and alumni, who turned out to protest his presence at the event and state cuts to UW System funding, including a $250 million reduction in the last state budget. A large group booed and heckled the Governor during his remarks, chanting “no more cuts.”