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Less than a month from cutting the ribbon on its new, dynamic academic building, Sage Hall,  the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has been given authorization to start planning for revitalization of another key academic center.

On Oct. 19, the state legislature’s Building Commission authorized UW Oshkosh to seek design and engineering work for the estimated $26 million renovation of Clow Social Science Center.

“This is great news for UW Oshkosh’s continued growth, both physically and academically,” UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells said. “There are many more steps to take before we break ground, renovate and, eventually, reopen and rededicate a modernized Clow Social Science Center. However, the support of our Building Commission means we can begin the all-important initial design and engineering steps that keep another strategy academic building project in the heart of the state’s third-largest university moving forward.”

Construction is scheduled to start in 2013 after design teams work with the University to refine the building plans and renderings.

The Building Commission’s latest nod follows a series of approvals for approvals advancing the Clow project, dating back several months:

  • In March, the Building Commission folded the Clow upgrades into a four-campus, $50 million UW System capital improvement budget line item. The “Major Facilities Renewal Program” line item targets building maintenance, repairs and reconfigurations to existing institution’s aging buildings to meet program needs.
  • Earlier this month, the UW System Board of Regents’ Capital Planning and Budget Committee further supported the Clow project as part of the renewal program projects. That action segued into the Building Commission’s recent support.

Built in 1966, Clow remains in the heart of the UW Oshkosh campus. However, its classrooms and meeting spaces, while still functional and integral in the University’s daily educational mission, have become outdated.

Design and engineering work will address Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility shortcomings with Clow’s aging lecture “pits.”

The initial work will also map out modernization of classrooms, teaching labs and instructional and support spaces for the College of Nursing, College of Education and Human Services and College of Letters and Science’s psychology, foreign language and literature labs. Support spaces will be housed in Clow as part of the estimated $26 million in upgrades.

The project also calls for the reconfiguration of a pedestrian mall leading from a new entrance of Clow to Dempsey Hall on the east and Sage Hall on the west.

The project will also incorporate state-of-the-art energy-efficient systems and sustainable materials wherever possible, said Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Tom Sonnleitner.

“Like the under-construction Horizon Village residence hall, Sage Hall and other 21st Century campus projects before it, the renovated Clow will further demonstrate our UW Oshkosh commitment to sustainable construction, energy efficiency and life-cycle operational costs,” Sonnleitner said. “We can look forward to another highly-rated green building that will also serve as a beautiful, effective home for our College of Nursing’s and College of Education and Human Services’ academic programs.”

Current projections put the renovated Clow’s reopening in 2014, he said.

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