Ground breaking for UW-L’s new student center Oct. 17

Interior image of the new student center.

Interior image of the new student center.

A groundbreaking ceremony for UW-L’s new student center will be at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, at the construction site. The 204,787 gross-square-foot building will begin to go up soon after on the parking lot east of Wimberly Hall, across the street from the Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex.

A short reception in Cartwright Center will follow the ground breaking ceremony.

The new center is expected to open in early 2017. It will replace the current student center, Cartwright Center, built in 1958 with additions in 1964 and 1985. When Cartwright was built UW-L had 1,772 students compared to 10,558 today.

In April 2012 UW-L students voted to build a new facility rather than repair Cartwright Center.

Kindness Architecture and Planning has created a plan for a three-story building that incorporates design elements from the surrounding landscape — a quality reminiscent of the famous Wisconsin-born Architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The building’s edifice emulates the sandstone bluff to the university’s east — Grandad Bluff. The main floor mimics the convergence of the three rivers in La Crosse with three main entrances converging upon an information desk and central gathering place.

The interior space will house the university bookstore, food service venues, a coffee house, entertainment café, study areas, lounges, student organization meeting rooms, student senate chambers, a large multipurpose room with performance area, several meeting spaces, dining areas, indoor and outdoor recreation areas, admissions offices and more.

The $53.3 million building is funded by student fees. No taxpayer dollars to be used.

View the live webcam of the project.