Major Project Request

athletics 2

The University of Wisconsin System
2011-13 Biennium – Advanced Enumeration

  1. Project: Health and Human Performance/Recreation Building - Planning
    Institution: UW-River Falls
    Estimated Cost: $50,491,000 General Fund Supported Borrowing
    10,264,000 Program Revenue Supported Borrowing
    701,000 Building Trust Funds
    2,056,000 Gift/Grant Funds
    $63,512,000 Total

Download a PDF document of the Major Project Request

2-Project Description and Scope

This project constructs a new 111,164 ASF/ 162,300 GSF building for the Health and Human Performance (HHP) 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 to tie into and support the new addition. Because of the distance from the central heating plant, this project will not extend the existing campus steam system, but will include a dual-fueled boiler for heating.

Upon completion of the new HHP facility, the 67,150 GSF Karges Physical Education Center and the 20,484 GSF Emogene Nelson Building (now occupied by HHP) will be demolished. Demolition of those buildings will eliminate operating costs and maintenance needs in those facilities.

This project also constructs a 720-stall parking lot adjacent to the new building to serve the parking needs of the new facility and to address a general deficiency of parking at the Hunt/Knowles complex.


Physical education, recreation, and athletics have been an important part of a comprehensive undergraduate education for more than a century. The HHP program, which was recently cited by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as an exemplary health education model, is the only National Association of Sport and Physical Education accredited K-12 teacher certification program in the State of Wisconsin and one of only a few in the Midwest. In 2009, there were over 3,000 students in HHP programs, including 255 majors and 339 minors.

UW-River Falls’ physical education space started out as a small 3,000 square foot gym in South Hall, enhanced by a slightly larger gym and pool in North Hall 20 years later and the Karges Physical Education Center in 1959 when enrollment was 1,200. Since then, enrollment has grown to nearly 6,000 students. The W.H. Hunt Arena was constructed in 1973 for the hockey program, and the Robert P. Knowles Center was added in 1986 as an indoor field house. In 1989 locker rooms in the Karges Center were remodeled and expanded to meet Title IX requirements. Numerous smaller projects were constructed over the years creating Ramer Field, athletic fields, and the intramural fields complex that is south of the South Fork Kinnickinnic River. To relieve overcrowding, anatomy, kinesiology, and fitness were moved to the Nelson Building when that facility became available in 1983.

In 1994, a comprehensive analysis of existing facility conditions was conducted in anticipation of a major capital renewal project in the Karges Center, then 35 years old. The analysis determined that both quality and quantity of the main instructional and indoor athletic
facilities were substandard. To address these deficiencies, a concerted planning effort occurred in 1999 involving UW-River Falls, UW-System Administration, and the Division of State Facilities staff. As a result, a solution was developed to construct a replacement facility.

The proposed Health and Human Performance Building project was included in the university's 2001-03, 2003-05, 2005-07, 2007-2009, and 2009-2011 biennial capital budget requests. Since the 2001-03 capital request, men's wrestling and baseball, and women's gymnastics have been discontinued, and men's track and women's golf have been added as competitive sports, providing a total of eleven sports for women and seven sports for men. The project scope has been adjusted to delete the gymnastics gym and miscellaneous smaller spaces. The new sports will not require additional new space.

In April 2004, the Wisconsin Legislature enumerated a $2.2 million project to construct a 14,365 GSF addition to the Hunt/Knowles complex to house locker rooms, training facilities, and associated support spaces. That addition meets the most critical locker room needs for the Hunt/Knowles complex, as well as the summer training camp needs for the Kansas City Chiefs football team. The project scope for this request has been adjusted downward to reflect the implementation of that project. In October, 2007 the Wisconsin Legislature enumerated $1,045,000 Building Trust Funds for pre-planning this major project.

4-Analysis of Need

A pre-design was completed for this project in March, 2010. The analysis portion of the pre-design confirmed space needs for the general education program, majors and minors in the various HHP programs, current athletic programs, and the intramural and general recreation programs. The following table summarizes space needs by space use category as shown in the pre-design report:

Space Type Existing Square Feet Pre-Design Sq. Ft. Difference





Human Performance Lab








Computer Lab












Falcons Gymnasium




Auxiliary Gymnasium








Strength and Conditioning




Athletics Support








Outdoor Education




Zamboni Storage




Indoor Field Sports




Concessions/Food Service









In addition to major shortages of specialized spaces, HHP instructional activities are spread across eight different campus locations. Primary instruction takes place in the Karges Center, Knowles, and the Nelson Building. Outdoor field-based activities take place at the Ramer Field complex, intramural fields complex, and a field on the far east side of campus near the residence halls. Large lectures are taught in the Agriculture Science Building and in the North Hall auditorium. Student recreation, fitness and wellness programs take place at most of these locations. Scheduling the large number of activities across numerous facilities results in inefficient use of staff and material resources. Program consolidation to one primary facility is a major goal for the university.

While the outdoor facilities, the main activity areas of the Hunt/Knowles complex, and the locker areas in the Karges Center are in good condition and meet program needs, the other facilities are grossly inadequate. All physical education majors must take courses in anatomy and kinesiology, which were taught in the Nelson Building, an old food service building attached to a residence hall. However, the instructional space was in a former kitchen that had not been remodeled at all, and proved completely unsuitable for the required instructional functions. Some course work now occurs in classrooms and corridor space in the Karges Center. Weight training and classroom space in the Nelson Building are housed in overcrowded spaces with little or no ventilation. The space does not have full accessibility for those with disabilities.

Most of the spaces in the Karges Center date from the original 1959 construction and are not adequate to accommodate today’s needs. The Karges Center competitive gymnasium, which was sized for a campus of 1,200 students, is not adequate to accommodate seating for today’s enrollment and has a ceiling height that is too low by modern standards. Other physical RVF - Health and Human education spaces in the Karges Center show the effects of age and obsolescence as well. The physical condition of the Karges Center and Nelson Building continue to deteriorate, as maintenance projects are deferred by the campus pending resolution of functional issues.

In summary, physical education, athletic and recreational facilities are in deteriorating condition; inadequate due to size, design or configuration; and spread all over campus. Campus planning efforts have determined that the Nelson Building and Karges Center cannot
be readily converted for other campus uses. To reduce operating and maintenance costs, these buildings will be demolished once newly constructed space is occupied. 

The pre-design process thoroughly analyzed average and peak parking demands for this project and site. Although some events draw as many as 2,000 spectators, sufficient land is not available to accommodate parking for that many people, nor is it prudent to design for that peak demand. Approximately 720 spaces are considered a reasonable number to build given the land available and typical demand.


Since the initiation of planning efforts in 1999, a number of alternatives have been investigated. For this planning cycle a pre-design report was completed that clarified the scope and budget of the project. Building type facilities were quantified, stacking diagrams created, and site needs determined resulting in the project budget of $63.5 million.



Pre-Design/Program Approval

A/E Selection

Design Report Completion

Bid Date

Start Construction

Substantial Completion

Final Completion

March 2010

September 2011

September 2012

January 2014

April 2014

November 2015

January 2016

7-Project Delivery

At the present time, it is anticipated that the standard state project delivery process will be used.

8-Estimated Costs

  1. a. Project Budget Summary:

    Budget Item






    A/E Design Fees



    Other Fees



    DSF Management Fee

     (4%) 4.4%





    Movable & Special Equipment



    Percent for the Arts



    Estimated Total Project Cost



  2. Impact on Operating Budget: Operating costs are expected to increase by approximately $717,000 per year as follows:


    Est. Cost














    A portion of this increased cost may later be offset by demolition of Karges Center and the Nelson Building.

    The annual operating cost for the parking lot is estimated at $40,000 per year. Based on a total of 2,028 campus parking permits being sold, the increased annual cost per permit will be $19.72.
  3. Fee Impact: On April 25, 2000, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Student Association Student Senate approved resolution SS-99-00-076 to increase segregated fees to fund the program revenue contribution to this project. That increase was based on a
    program revenue contribution of $3,846,150 to the then estimated total project budget of $25,641,000. In spring, 2005, the UW-River Falls Foundation agreed to provide up to $2,056,000 of gifts toward the non-GPR portion of this project. In March, 2008, the Student Senate approved an additional increase of segregated fee based support to an amount not to exceed $6,173,000. This equates to an annual segregated fee impact of $72.15 for this project.

    For the parking lot, the pre-design determined bonding amount is $4,091,000. Bonding and operational costs will result in an increase in the permit fees of $178 per year for all parking permit holders. Current annual permit rates are $245 per residential student in a regular lot and $135 in the Ramer Field Lot, $235 per faculty/staff, and $100 per commuter in the Ramer Field Lot.

9-Previous Action

This project was recommended for planning by the Board of Regents in the 2001-2003 Capital Budget at a cost of $31,812,000 (27,040,000 General Fund Supported Borrowing and $4,772,000 Program Revenue Supported Borrowing), but the Department of Administration’s final recommendations did not support advancing this project for planning in 2001-2003.

The project was again recommended for planning by the Board of Regents in the 2003-2005 Capital Budget at a cost of $34,425,000 ($29,216,000 General Fund Supported Borrowing and $4,664,000 Program Revenue Supported Borrowing), but the Department of Administration’s final recommendations did not support advancing this project for planning in 2003-2005.

In April 2004 a project to construct a 14,365 GSF addition at the Hunt/Knowles complex at a cost of $2,206,000 ($1,876,000 General Fund Supported Borrowing and $330,000 Program Revenue–Cash) was enumerated as part of SB 474. The project was subsequently authorized for construction in May 2004 at a cost of $2,492,000 ($1,876,000 General Fund Supported Borrowing and $616,000 Program Revenue–Cash.).

The project was again recommended for planning by the Board of Regents in the 2005-2007 Capital Budget at a cost of ($32,087,000 General Fund Supported Borrowing and $8,436,000 Program Revenue Supported Borrowing), but the Department of Administration’s final recommendations did not support advancing this project for planning in 2005-2007.

In October, 2007, the Wisconsin Legislature enumerated $1,045,000 Building Trust Funds – Planning for the project.