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Bids for a facility that will serve as a hub for University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students to receive advising, career services, counseling, and academic support while also featuring state-of-the-art “green” technology have come in nearly $1.3 million under original estimates. The $7.5-million retrofit and expansion of UW Oshkosh’s Elmwood Commons to create a Student Success Center will begin within a month. The project was awarded to Miron Construction of Neenah, Wis.

The project will be the largest state building to date to feature a geothermal heat field, which takes advantage of moderate temperatures in the earth to provide heat in the winter and coolant in the summer. It is expected to be 75 percent more efficient than current construction. The current building is 31,500 square feet. An additional 11,000 square feet will be added on to the existing structure.

The Student Success Center, designed by KEE Architects of Madison, will provide the University’s 13,100 students with a single destination for student advising, career services, counseling, tutoring and learning assistance. The Undergraduate Advising Resource Center, the Counseling Center, Career Services, and the Center for Academic Resources will be housed in the facility. Currently those services are decentralized within the University.

“The project evolved out of the campus’s strategic planning process and addresses the University’s goals of improving student retention, time to degree and graduation rates,” said Chancellor Richard H. Wells. “This initiative recognizes the University’s systematic integration of academic support resources.”

“Students recognized the value and importance of these services to their success, and in 2003 voted to enhance these programs by almost a million dollars through differential tuition,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Petra Roter. “As a result, an additional 40 positions handle an estimated 30,000 additional student visits annually. This new Student Success Center will not only provide a one-stop location for student services, but will also allow for space associated with the increased growth and demand of these programs and services.”

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