Update: Committee approves increase in Wittich Hall project budget
A UW System Board of Regents executive committee unanimously approved the request by UWL to increase the project budget for the Wittich Hall renovation by $2.128 million during a meeting Tuesday, May 22. The next and final step in the approval process is for the State Building Commission to grant the authority to increase the project budget. That action will be considered at the SBC meeting in June and renovation would begin after approval.
UW System executive committee to vote on approximately $2.1 million increase to UWL Wittich Hall renovation
UW-La Crosse is requesting authority to increase the project budget for the Wittich Hall renovation by $2,128,000 to a revised budget of $26,746,000.
A UW System executive committee will vote on the request during a telephone conference call at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 22.
Bids for this project were opened on May 10, 2018. Acceptance of the lowest, qualified, responsible bid resulted in a revised total project cost of $26,746,000. The request will allow the Division of Facilities Development and Management to complete the approved scope and intent of the budget.
The architectural team identified several reasons that the construction bid price was 15 percent more than that of the design report. First, the cost of structural steel has increased significantly over the past 10 months. In August 2017, steel costs for the UW-Madison Southeastern Recreation Facility project bid was $2,800/ton. The May 2018 steel costs for the Wittich Hall project have risen to about $4,200/ton. Second, the hourly rate for Midwestern masonry labor has increased significantly (by more than 200 percent) during the last year. Finally, the local economy’s low unemployment rate of 2.8 percent means it is increasingly difficult to find skilled labor.
The State Building Commission approved the Wittich Hall renovation during its December 2017 meeting. A complete renovation of the building’s interior will create an iconic and modern new home for the UWL College of Business Administration. Construction will begin in June 2018 with doors expected to reopen in May 2020. The project is funded through university program revenue. No state tax money will be used.