UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley announced Thursday plans to build a new University Health Services and a student-activity center will move forward, despite unexpected cost increases.
Wiley delayed several projects, including the renovations of Bascom Hall and Camp Randall, to keep plans for the new student center on track.
The combined UHS/SAC center will house clinical, counseling and administrative offices for UHS, as well as meeting rooms, work areas and offices for student organizations and the student body.
Wiley said construction costs, originally estimated at $22.9 million, will be closer to $34 million.
“This project is vital to filling two long-standing needs on campus,” Wiley said. “It will continue on schedule.”
Associated Students of Madison chair Jessica Miller said she is happy with Wiley’s decision to continue the project.
“The chancellor has vowed to stick with this and go to bat with it,” Miller said. “It should be fine.”
Wiley said the university will not need to ask students for more than the authorized $17 million agreed in a 1999 ASM referendum. Instead, the university will be asking the state for $17 million, a $10 million increase from the original request.
“We are not going to pass costs on to students for a miscalculation by project planners,” Wiley said. “However, this building is too important to let higher costs delay construction.”
Wiley will alter a list of construction recommendations made by the Campus Planning Committee from last fall. The committee submits lists of building requests to the chancellor every two years, which is reviewed and then submitted to the Board of Regents.
“I realize that the 2003-05 biennium will be a financially difficult one for the state,” Wiley said. “That is why I have taken the unusual step of adjusting or delaying some of the recommendations made by the CPC.”
The halting of the $30 million renovation of Sterling Hall and the drop of the request to renovate Bascom Hall are among the changes made to a 2003-05 capital budget request submitted by Wiley to UW System president Katharine Lyall.
After the UW System approves the project, it will need to go through a similar process to get state approval.
A location for the building is still being determined, but Miller said they are hoping it will be close to Memorial Union and Library Mall.
“This facility has been a top priority of students for over five years, and we will continue to push for its completion,” Miller said. “The change in cost is an unfortunate development, but we are pleased with the administration’s strong support — not just through words, but through concrete actions.”