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UWS students approve $1.2 million
in improvements to Wessman Arena
The Daily Telegram
Date: Friday, February 27th, 2004 10:15:21 AM
million in improvements to Wessman Arena narrowly received the stamp of
approval by University of Wisconsin-Superior students in a referendum vote
held Wednesday and Thursday with 368 yes votes to 310 no votes; however,
UWS students overwhelmingly said no to additional student center fees that
would increase by $78 per year for seven years to finance the $19.5
million construction of a new student center building.
With a 421-250
vote, the students squashed the student center portion of the referendum
that would have eventually raised the student center fee from $169 to $715
by the 2010-11 school year and sent the student senate and administration
back to the drawing board to seek other options.
Hanson said the Rothwell student center is over 40 years old and is in
need of major repairs. “The number of infrastructure issues and the
condition of the food preparation area were the impetus to look at a new
building,” Hanson said. She said the roof leaks, the windows leak and the
exterior walls leak — just to name a few of the problems with the existing
The conceptual design of the new building, Hanson said,
would have provided a more efficient use of space and reduced the size
from 113,000 square feet to approximately 100,000 square feet, adding more
green space to the campus.
“I am delighted to see the level of
interest and voter turnout,” Hanson said in an interview Thursday
afternoon. “If it does fail, though, we want to engage the students’ input
to put together a plan that students can support.”
In an interview
Thursday night, Student Senate President Brad Amys said following the
final tally the student senate will present an analysis report to the
chancellor next week with a recommendation. “I would anticipate the
chancellor will move forward with the Wessman Arena project and send the
Rothwell Student Center project back to the senate committee,” he said.
UWS student Kevin Korpela said he and other students believe the
student senate and the administration are not being forthright and giving
the students all the options to consider for the student center project.
However, Amys said the senate did tell students of three options that
included repairing the existing building, adding on a new kitchen and
cafeteria area, or rebuilding.
“The information was given to them,”
Amys said the senate supported the new building as a whole.
“It’s the best value on the dollar,” he said. He noted there is $4 million
donation from the foundation that the school could lose if it doesn’t
Students will be paying higher fees for the Wessman Arena
improvements, but those fees will only increase $20 over a two-year
“I can afford that,” UWS student Umidjon Salimov said.
Fifty-one percent of the Wessman Arena project is also expected to be
funded by the state.
The arena improvements include a 4,600-square
foot addition that will house two varsity locker rooms, a training room, a
stretching and conditioning room, additional storage space, plus provide
remodeling of the existing locker rooms, and minor remodeling of other
support areas like concessions and public restrooms.
[This article is a reprint from www.superiorwi.com.]
© Kevin Korpela, www.observatorydrive.com™