April 28, 2014—The largest building project in the 140-year history of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls moves one step closer to reality this week with a groundbreaking ceremony for the $63.5 million Falcon Center. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 2, outside Hunt Arena.
"The Falcon Center project will be transformative for the university and the larger community, replacing some facilities that are over 55 years old, and providing outstanding spaces for teaching, wellness, recreation and athletics," said UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen. "The groundbreaking event follows two decades of effort by UWRF's campus community and supporters to make this project a reality."
In 1994, a comprehensive analysis determined that both the quality and quantity of the main instructional and indoor athletic facilities at UWRF were substandard. A concerted planning effort for a replacement facility occurred in 1999 involving UW-River Falls, University of Wisconsin System Administration, and the Division of State Facilities.
The proposed Health and Human Performance Building (later renamed the Falcon Center) project was included in the UW System's 2001-03, 2003-05, 2005-07, 2007-09, and 2009-11 biennial capital budget requests before receiving advanced enumeration (a commitment to future funding) as part of the 2011-13 biennial budget.
The Falcon Center project constructs a new 162,300 GSF building for the Health and Human Performance programs, athletics, and student recreation as an addition to the existing Hunt/Knowles complex. The building includes classrooms, a human performance laboratory, a large gymnasium, dance studio, auxiliary gym, offices, locker rooms, training rooms, and other supporting spaces. The project also remodels approximately 14,670 GSF of space in the existing Hunt/Knowles complex.
"The Falcon Center will provide an outstanding teaching and learning environment for the Health and Human Performance (HHP) department," said Larry Solberg, dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies. "With four classrooms including an active learning classroom, a human performance laboratory, fitness studios, an auxiliary gym and the fitness center, students majoring in exercise and sport science and health and physical education, and HHP faculty teaching them, will be in a truly outstanding facility where theory and practice can be connected."
Phase one of construction is scheduled to begin this summer with site improvements. Substantial completion of the Falcon Center is estimated for October 2016, with occupancy scheduled in early 2017.
"I invite everyone to join the celebration," said Van Galen.
More details on the Falcon Center, including architectural renderings of the exterior and interior of the building, are available at www.uwrf.edu/FalconCenter.
For more information, contact Blake Fry, UWRF special assistant to the chancellor at 715-425-3711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: The Don Page Arena, named for UW-River Falls' long-time coach and athletic director, is a major component of the Falcon Center project and will replace the Karges Center as the venue for intercollegiate athletics including basketball and volleyball.