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Lincoln Hall, UW Oshkosh’s most recently renovated building

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Lincoln Hall is really a story of where new and old collide.

Or, it’s where young and old meet.

From the story of the building to the story of who it serves, the collision of old and new, young and old, will be recognized with a dedication and open house celebration Sept. 16. The Lincoln Hall dedication follows the annual Community Breakfast (at 9:15 a.m.) and will include remarks, a ribbon cutting ceremony, guided tours and refreshments.

Lincoln Hall is located on the edge of campus at the corner of Algoma Boulevard and Wisconsin Street.

Purchased by the UW System from the Oshkosh Area School District in 2010, the building was named Lincoln Hall to honor its former use and history as Lincoln Elementary School. The building was renovated during the past few years and is now home to the UW Oshkosh Children’s Learning and Care Center and the Division of Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement (LLCE). The total budget for the project—including demolition, equipment, hazardous material abatement and renovation—was just less than $4.5 million.

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One of the classrooms inside the UW Oshkosh Children’s Learning and Care Center, which is housed in the recently renovated Lincoln Hall

Previously, the Children’s Learning and Care Center was housed in the basement of Swart Hall and LLCE was scattered in five different areas throughout campus. Within Lincoln Hall, the Children’s Learning and Care Center occupies the first floor and provides services to children of students, faculty, staff and community members. LLCE is housed on the second floor and provides a variety of services including online degree programs, noncredit professional development programs and online advising and resource services.

“In this building, we provide opportunities for learning across one’s  lifespan,” said Karen Heikel, LLCE assistant vice chancellor and dean.

Students as young as 2 weeks old begin their journey on campus at the Children’s Learning and Care Center while some of the oldest students on campus also receive education through programs like LLCE’s Learning in Retirement.

The 52,000-square-foot-facility, which was originally built in 1964 and functioned as an elementary school through the 2008-09 school year, now has office, classroom and functional child care spaces. In the future, the property will include an updated parking lot and playground area.

The renovation of Lincoln Hall is an example of the University’s sustainability-focused thinking, UW Oshkosh administrators agree. Through the renovation, UW Oshkosh gave life to an otherwise vacant building, something not a first for UW Oshkosh. In 2008, UW Oshkosh retrofitted the vacant former Cub Foods building off Witzel Avenue and Campbell Street, which stood empty for years. The University relocated its campus services operations there; the space now houses University Facilities Management, Central Stores/Receiving, Document Services and Postal Services.

The Lincoln Hall site also helps consolidate related departments, making operations more efficient, the building’s new tenants said.

“Being spread out in different locations around campus impacted our ability to work cross-functionally; it diminished efficiency,” Heikel said.

Sandy Kust, director at the Children’s Learning and Care Center, said moving child care operations to Lincoln Hall has made the Children’s Learning and Care Center able to accommodate 184 children, up from just 84 children. The move has also opened up child care services to families beyond UW Oshkosh, something Kust said she’s excited about.

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“It’s awesome to have people walk into this building and see it look so great,” said Kust, who has led the child center on campus for 40 years. “It’s warm and inviting here. We love our spacious, sunny rooms that are all on one level, which makes it easier for getting the kids in and out to the gym or outside to play.”

In line with UW Oshkosh’s commitment to sustainability, managers of the renovation project made sure sustainable materials and practices were integrated throughout the renovation process of Lincoln Hall, including:

  • 10 percent of the materials used for construction were extracted, harvested and manufactured within a 500 mile radius of Oshkosh.
  • The building was fitted with water-reducing plumbing fixtures, which provide a 20 percent greater reduction in water usage.
  • During construction, the building plan included a separation of construction waste and recyclable materials, reducing the amount of wasted disposed of in landfills.
  • Motion-censored lighting was installed in all spaces, which turns off lights when space is not in use.
  • All single pane doors and windows were replaced with higher efficiency double pane units.
  •  The cooling system was connected to the University’s central plan, reducing the amount of new equipment that was needed for the building.

“This building really shows that there is value in a solid, old building, especially a building surrounded by good green space, in a good location with good parking,” Heikel said. “Lincoln Hall is easy to find and is easy to park at; it’s going to be good for our community and good for the growth of our services.”

The Children’s Learning and Care Center is accepting new students; visit uwosh.edu/childrens_center.

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