UPDATE: Funds for UWEC Science Hall Back in Budget, Head to Governor

Tom Giffey |

Both houses of the state Legislature have approved $109 million in funding for the first phase of a new science and health science building on the UW-Eau Claire campus. The facility, which would replace 50-year-old Phillips Science Hall, will cost an estimated $256 million over the course to two state budget cycles. Funding for the first phase of the project was included in Democratic Gov. Tony Ever’s 2019-21 capital budget earlier this year, but that document was rejected in its entirety by Republican leaders in the Legislature. However, funding for the new hall was included in motions by both Republicans and Democrats on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, and the committee OK’d a $1.9 billion plan for state building projects on June 11. That included $93.25 million in state bonds for the first phase on the science hall as well as approval for $13.7 million in donations. (Mayo Clinic Health System has pledged to support the creation of 10,000 square feet of shared workspace in the new hall.) In addition, the committee approved $2 million to demolish the Katharine Thomas and Katherine Putnam dorms to clear space for the new science hall, as well as $1 million for advanced planning of the second phase of the project. The two-year state budget was approved by the Assembly and Senate during the final week of June, then headed to Evers for his approval or veto.