Full Steam Ahead
Construction Work on New Chemistry Biology Building Off to Fast Start
If you’ve been near the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the last three months, you likely have noticed construction activity on the former parking lot X at Fourth Avenue and Fremont Street. Work is progressing splendidly since an April groundbreaking, with construction continuing through the summer and fall. The plan is for occupancy by the fall of 2018. The four story building will have 176,500 square feet with research and teaching labs for biology and chemistry on each floor.
At $75.18 million, this is one of the largest building projects in Central Wisconsin. Not since Consolidated Papers invested $110 million in an addition to its Stevens Point Division mill in 1989, has a project larger than this been under way in the Stevens Point area. In addition, this is the first major free-standing academic building to be constructed on the UW-Stevens Point campus in 40 years. And it was the largest state-funded building project from the 2013-15 state capital budget other than road construction.
This investment of state funds in UW-Stevens Point is validation of the exceptional work our faculty and staff perform, as well as our outstanding graduates, who go on to pursue successful careers and meaningful lives. Indeed, hundreds of local and regional jobs will be created in the next few years centered around construction. Based on a formula cited by C3 Statistical Solutions to calculate construction industry impact, the project’s economic impact is estimated at $144 million, generating work for hundreds of people in the construction trades in Central Wisconsin. Our general contractor, Miron Construction, is a Wisconsin-based firm, as are most of the subcontractors. Other service contractors, such as Point of Beginning, County Materials and Nummelin Testing, are located in Stevens Point or within 100 miles of the construction site.
As of September some 70 workers are on site each day. That number will swell to about 150 next spring when mechanical, electrical, drywall and roofing work are underway, according to Gerald David, Miron project superintendent. All are paid prevailing wages, or more, by their employer. These wages range from $17 to $41 per hour, depending on the occupation.
“Because they’re making money here, they’re spending it here,” David said. From hotels and restaurants to hardware and office supply stores, from rental equipment to crane repair, the uptick in local business is noticeable because of the Chemistry Biology Building.
The project is several weeks ahead of schedule. Two stairwells are constructed, a third is underway, and the fourth should be completed by November. It is currently estimated that the building will be weather-secure by mid-February.
Looking ahead, we hope this facility will attract students and faculty to our already exceptional chemistry and biology programs, while serving as a central corrid
or for students as they move from the residence halls to classrooms and the Dreyfus University Center.
In the meantime, we know this project is providing good jobs to workers and generating business throughout the urban area. That’s on top of the $420 million UW-Stevens Point contributes annually to Wisconsin’s economy. The partnership between UW-Stevens Point and our Central Wisconsin communities makes us all stronger and more vibrant. Those interested can watch progress on a live video stream from our website: visit www.uwsp.edu/cols and select New Chemistry Biology Building.
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