Students approve new fieldhouse

FieldhouseWebUW-L students voted to increase student fees to help pay for a new fieldhouse during an online referendum Tuesday and Wednesday. A total of 3,656 students voted with 56.2 percent of those who voted in favor of the $29 million project.

The results will still require approval from the UW-L Student Senate, the UW System Board of Regents, State Building Commission and the state legislature as part of the 2015-17 state biennial budget.

“I am very impressed with the turnout of the election. I was excited to see so many students taking an active role in the process,” says UW-L Student Association President Kaylee Otterbacher. “I think we had such a high turnout because students are starting to notice the impact that these projects are having on their student fees. They are taking an active role in deciding how much education should cost and if these large projects are truly beneficial.”

The final tally was originally expected at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, but a glitch in the voting system caused polls to close an hour early. Voting was opened on Wednesday to provide another opportunity to vote.

The 115,000-square-foot facility is planned to go up on the grass area between the Roger Harring field and Emerson Elementary School, north of Mitchell Hall.

The $29 million proposal includes three separate projects:

New fieldhouse. Construction of the field house, larger than the Recreational Eagle Center, would start in June 2017 and be complete in spring 2019.

Artificial turf. This includes an artificial turf soccer field to be used for women’s soccer, intramural sports and sports clubs at the Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex. It would also have restroom facilities. Three natural grass fields would also be incorporated adjacent to the artificial turf for intramural and sports clubs. This project would start in May 2016 and be complete in Oct. 2016.

Renovation of Mitchell Hall fieldhouse. Mitchell Hall, built in 1965, houses the current fieldhouse.The renovations would expand practice facilities for men’s wrestling and women’s gymnastics, and add more physical space for academics. This project would start following completion of the new student fieldhouse and be finished in 2019.

Cost

The university would contribute $9 million and students would pay for the remaining $20 million. Student fees would gradually increase starting during the 2015-16 academic year and level off at $66 a semester once the building is constructed.

The three projects would open up more activity spaces, both indoor and outdoor, for Rec Sports, the Exercise Sports Science Department and Athletics. The Mitchell Hall renovation would also will give the gymnastics team a 15,500-square-foot gymnastics facility in the renovated area. The gymnastics team will be displaced when the College of Business Administration moves into a renovated Wittich Hall.

Student Fieldhouse details

  • The fieldhouse will include a state-of-the-art, eight-lane competitive track that will allow UW-L to host national-level track meets. UW-L does not currently host indoor track meets because Mitchell Hall’s track does not meet NCAA standards.
  • Four-court, competitive tennis facility that can also be used for a variety of activities.
  • Inside the track will be a multi-activity court where students can play numerous activities including: basketball, volleyball, flag football, kickball, dodgeball, baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer and more.
  • Three meeting rooms

Learn more about the project on the Rec Sports website.