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In 1966, Clow Social Science Center was new and state-of-the-art.

And now, some 40 years later, it’s time to make the academic hub new and state-of-the-art again to help meet the learning needs of students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, said Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Thomas Sonnleitner.

Earlier this month, the UW System Capital Planning and Budget Committee approved a package that will allow for UW Oshkosh to move forward in planning for maintenance and infrastructure upgrades to the more than 120,300 square foot Clow building.

“You have these classes and meeting rooms that were built in the 60s that will now be transformed into brand new spaces,” Sonnleitner said. “We’re going to update the teaching and learning spaces to be more conducive to students today.”

Classrooms, teaching labs, instructional and support space for the College of Nursing, College of Education and Human Services and College of Letters and Science psychology, foreign language and literature labs and support spaces will be housed in Clow following an estimated $26 million in upgrades. Construction would start in 2013.

Upgrades would not only update learning spaces but would also integrate modern Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant features to meet requirements and make spaces, such as lecture pits, accessible to all students at UW Oshkosh. As is, Sonnleitner said, some students are unable to get into the pit classrooms within Clow.

Also as part of the project, the pedestrian mall, leading from the new entrance of Clow to Dempsey Hall on the east and Sage Hall on the west, will be upgraded.

The plan goes to the state’s building commission next week and, if approved, a design team will be selected and will start working with University deans early next year on concepts for an essentially new Clow.

Sonnleitner calls it “a refurbishment of the infrastructure.”

The renovations to the building will be done as part of the UW System’s Facilities Renewal Program, which is intended to address maintenance and repair issues to existing facilities and make strides to alleviate deferred maintenance and improve the functionality of interior spaces at UW institutions.

Throughout the UW System, there are approximately 450 general assignment academic buildings of which about 70 percent were constructed before 1970. UW Oshkosh’s Clow was identified as a long-standing request with a high priority. The renovations to Clow, paired with the new Sage Hall, are expected to provide the campus with core academic facilities for years to come. Updates at UW-Platteville, UW-Stout and UW-Superior will also be made under the Facilities Renewal Program.

It is anticipated that the fully renovated Clow would reopen in 2014, Sonnleitner said.

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