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The legislature’s Joint Finance Committee advanced its version of the state’s 2021-23 capital budget Tuesday evening, including $26.9 million for renovations of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s College of Education and Human Services academic building.

In a statement, UW System President Thompson thanked the committee for its support and of campus projects across the state, which total $628.7 million.

“We appreciate the committee’s investment in maintenance and repair funding for our current facilities, and in moving forward critical projects throughout the UW System,” Thompson said. “These are much needed investments that will ensure our students have the important educational opportunities they need to graduate and enter the workforce.”

The UWO project calls for upgrading and renovating the existing UWO Nursing/Education building, a central hub of the Oshkosh campus. It is the second phase of the project.

“This budget represents a significant step forward for our campuses. The committee clearly recognizes UW System’s focus on STEM-related facilities and the need to provide modern education and research space for our students. We appreciate their confidence in the direction we are taking the UW,” Thompson said.

UWO Chancellor Andrew Leavitt also shared his delight with the UWO campus community today that the project has earned a place in the state budget.

“I’d like to thank College of Education and Human Services Dean Linda Haling and her leadership team for consistently stepping up to help demonstrate to state legislators and officials the need for the Clow II project to advance,” Leavitt said. “I also thank Director of Facilities Management JoAnn Rife for her oversight of the project’s design, engineering and progress through the state planning pipelines. And we owe a debt of gratitude to the Board of Regents and President Thompson and his team, who have ensured this project answering Wisconsin’s call for more and better prepared teachers remains a state priority.”

The UWO project was included in a 2011 request that called for renovations to the College of Nursing (CON) and the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS). The CON Clow Social Sciences Center project was completed in 2016, but the second half of this project has been delayed at the state level.

“This $27-million phase of the project will provide much needed mechanical upgrades to the building and further transform it into the modern center for teacher education and UWO course delivery we have long sought,” Leavitt said.

Leavitt offered special thanks to state legislators for their continued support of this project.

“State Rep. Michael Schraa was a driving force helping convey the need for and the value of this project to his colleagues in the current State Legislature and over the last two biennia. State Sen. Dan Feyen has been a genuine advocate for the project, helping ensure it is completed and is positioned to respond to Wisconsin’s needs. State Rep. Gordon Hintz, as our 54th Assembly district representative and a former Wisconsin State Building Commission member, has advocated for the Clow/Nursing-Education complex’s modernization over the last decade,” Leavitt said. “I am grateful to have elected leaders and partners who understand the strong return on investment this project will deliver in future teacher talent and UWO mission-centric teaching and learning.”

In the coming weeks, the committee will take up the remaining portions of the 2021-23 state budget including annual pay plans for state employees. After the Joint Finance Committee concludes its work, the biennial budget bill will be voted on by each house and returned to the governor’s desk for his signature and/or vetoes.

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