A series of alterations taking place in downtown
Stevens Point has created a domino effect of changes in other areas of town.
Part of the city’s goal, as stated on its downtown
development webpage, is to “encourage efforts to retain, reinforce and attract
a diverse mix of businesses to Main Street. Encourage residential development
to provide for a ‘24/7’ activity level.”
The changes began with the decision to demolish
part of the old mall and extend Third Street. This has been accomplished, and
Third Street now runs from 6th Avenue to Water Street. It used to be broken up
by the mall.
On the east side of Third Street, Shopko and part
of the mall building remain. A portion of the mall a little bit bigger than a
city street, including sidewalks, has been knocked down. Third Street now runs
through this, although the street is not yet open for traffic.
Mid-State Technical College plans to move into the
old mall building and use it as a new facility. Construction to redesign the
interior will begin in April of 2013. They hope to complete the remodeling,
move in and be ready to start holding class in the new building by January of
“We have a number of new opportunities,” said Steve
Smith, the campus dean of MSTC. “We will have classrooms of the appropriate
size. We will have labs of the appropriate size.”
2,800 students attend MSTC in Stevens Point every
year. Classrooms in their current facility, located on Michigan Avenue, have
been undersized, and parking has been an issue. After moving into the new facility,
Smith stated that the school would have 17,000 more square feet than they
Part of the space will be used to build a loft or
balcony for a new student lounge. Smith stated that they are also excited to
have sufficient space to move their early childhood education program from the
Wisconsin Rapids campus to Stevens Point. MSTC and the University of
Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) sometimes work together in their early childhood
education program, and Smith hopes that being geographically closer will
encourage that relationship to grow even more.
Once MSTC vacates the building on Main Street, there are a few
possibilities for the building. One would be a new City Hall. Another would be
a new facility for The Boys and Girls Club. Director of Development and
Marketing Carie Winn said they were told they might receive a portion of the
“We are in a holding period,” Winn said. “We hope to use a portion
of the Recreation Center or Mid-State, but we are the third prong in this
The third possibility for use of the building is a new campus for
the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). MCW is considering Stevens Point,
Marshfield, or Wausau as potential locations for their new satellite college.
Representatives from MCW have met with the Stevens Point Mayor Andrew
Halverson, and UWSP Chancellor Bernie Patterson. If MCW decides to use the old
MSTC building for its campus they hope to collaborate with UWSP so that
students could have access to athletics and fine arts programs.
The building could also end up being used for a combination of
those ideas. No decisions have been made yet. The representatives who toured
the possible campus locations for MCW will give their recommendation to the
board of trustees on Nov 16.
downtown business owners were asked to comment on the changes taking place many
refused, stating that they did not wish to be involved. Halverson was also
asked to comment but did not return any calls or emails.