Soil problems delay UW-BSC dorm construction

A new residence hall at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County campus won’t be completed before classes start this fall, school officials said Wednesday.

Half of the dorm should be in place to allow those who already have signed up for student housing to move in on schedule.

UW-BSC Assistant Dean David Armstrong told a county committee Wednesday there were complications with the soil under what would be the west end of the apartment-style housing complex.

That meant the foundation had to be redesigned, and the contractor, Bray Associates Architects, has begun working with a state building inspector to revamp plans. The university still is accepting applications from students who wish to take advantage of the new student housing.

“Any students that are over and above the leases already signed will be accommodated in hotels or short-term apartments,” Armstrong said. “That’s plan B. Hopefully that’ll be considered an inconvenience.”

The 80-bed facility is part of the campus’ long-term plan and is being constructed at no cost to taxpayers by Bray Associates, which will manage the residence hall and collect revenue from student fees.

Bray Associates Director of Operations Kelly Young said any overflow of students would be placed on a waiting list, and their temporary housing costs would come from the company’s project cost at no expense to taxpayers. She said the glitch will not impact student fees.

The second half of the facility is expected to be completed by mid-semester, and will be ready for second semester of the coming school year, Young said in a phone interview.

Armstrong’s report came during Wednesday’s meeting of the county’s Capital Improvements Project Committee, which annually reevaluates big-ticket projects on the horizon in the coming decade.

The university is in the midst of a number of projects called for in its master plan, including a $4.8 million science building expansion and lab renovation that is expected to be complete by the fall of 2015. Because the campus property is jointly owned by the county and the City of Baraboo, the two entities split project costs.

Future projects include the renovation and expansion of the university’s theater and arts building, as well as its administrative offices and library. Armstrong said because the plan was created in 2007, some of the project costs may have to be reevaluated.

Sauk County Board Chair Marty Krueger said the initial master planning process was funded entirely by the county. He suggested campus officials communicate with city officials to ensure they have sufficient funds to help pay for the cost of working with contractors to update plans.

The committee also discussed a number of other future county projects, including additions to a Reedsburg property where the county operates a nursing home. The county’s capital improvements plan currently calls for planning to develop that property into a full-fledged continuum of care campus in 2016 with construction to begin in 2017.

The county is preparing to spend $485,000 on the planning process and another $4.5 million on construction for the expansion.

The committee made a number of adjustments to smaller-scale projects, including postponing a jury courtroom addition until 2024. Officials said current courtroom space is sufficient and the project is not likely to be needed in the coming years.

Baraboo News Republic
Publication Date: 
Thursday, July 24, 2014