Select Page

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will celebrate the construction of its first new academic building since 1971 with a groundbreaking ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16, at the corner of High and Rockwell avenues.

The $48-million building is among the largest single construction projects in the history of northeastern Wisconsin’s New North and is the final stage of an approximately $55 million project that included the relocation of facilities management operations to a renovated Cub Foods grocery store.

Using conservative estimates, the much-needed project will directly and indirectly generate more than 2,000 jobs, including those in construction-related fields such as masonry, electrical, architecture, pipefitting and plumbing over the next three years, providing a big boost to the regional economy in the midst of a global economic recession.

The public is welcome to join Gov. Jim Doyle, University leaders, Oshkosh Student Association officers, major donors and members of the campus community in support of what will be one of the Midwest’s most distinctive and environmentally friendly academic centers.

The new building will meet much of the academic space shortage documented by a state study and helps address space needed due to a recent, record-breaking enrollment increase of 1,400 students, bringing the total enrollment to more than 13,000 students.

“We are grateful to all who have contributed to improving the quality of life and education in northeastern Wisconsin’s New North. Those contributions will help the University to continue to attract talented students and faculty and ensure we are able to provide a high-quality, affordable and accessible education,” Provost Lane Earns said.

“Modern facilities are an essential component to meet Wisconsin’s growing demand for well-educated professionals and business leaders,” said David Omachinski, co-chair of the UW Oshkosh Foundation’s capital campaign. “The addition of a new academic center will further define UW Oshkosh as a center for academic excellence.”

Many of building project’s major donors will join the groundbreaking celebration, including leadership from Bemis Company Inc., J. J. Keller & Associates Inc., Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., Menasha Corporation, Plexus Corp., Secura Insurance Companies, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Wisconsin Public Service.

“It’s not about the building. It’s about the people of northeastern Wisconsin,” said Culver’s Franchising System cofounder Craig Culver, a 1973 UW Oshkosh graduate who, with his wife Lea Culver, placed a major donation to the capital campaign. “I know our donation will make the lives of students and faculty better for many years to come.”

“I want to extend our campus community’s great appreciation to Gov. Jim Doyle and members of the Wisconsin State Building Commission, especially representatives Gordon Hintz and Dean Kaufert,” said Chancellor Richard H. Wells. “These two area legislators have worked very hard to help ensure that the residents of Northeast Wisconsin’s New North obtain their fair share of capital funding for the region’s higher educational needs.

“We also want to acknowledge the excellent job Department of Administration Division Administrator David Helbach and UW System staff members Tom Anderes and David Miller are doing managing the complex financial and budget planning related to our and other University of Wisconsin universities’ capital building projects. Finally, the outstanding support of UW System President Kevin Reilly and the Board of Regents, especially the work of the Capital Planning and Budget Committee, chaired by Regent Jeffrey Bartell, is much appreciated.

UW Oshkosh’s new academic building at a glance:

  • UW Oshkosh’s more than 13,000 current students and tens of thousands of future students will take advantage of what is sure to be one of the Midwest’s most distinctive academic buildings.
  • The four-story, 191,000-square-foot building will contain 27 state-of-the-art classrooms, two lecture halls, 23 labs and dozens of breakout, study and project rooms — providing 13,832 section seats per day.
  • The building will be home to administrative, faculty and program offices of the College of Business along with five departments and five programs of the College of Letters and Science.
  • By incorporating renewable energy sources and sustainable principals, the project, designed for a gold LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, is expected to save the University more than $182,000 annually.
  • VOA of Chicago, in association with Berners-Schober Associates Inc. of Green Bay, designed the building.
  • Construction is estimated to take 22 months, with the grand opening planned for fall 2011.