PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The renovation of a University of Wisconsin-Platteville science building is nearly complete.
About a year after breaking ground, construction crews are readying for a final cleaning of Boebel Hall before major construction on the building concludes and equipment and furnishings are installed.
“We’re creating an environment in which students can be comfortable learning, studying and collaborating with faculty and staff,” said Dean Wayne Weber, who oversees the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture.
The project, which saw the renovation of more than two-thirds of the existing structure, was initially billed at $23.7 million but has proven more costly than estimated.
The college utilized a portion of the project’s equipment budget to accommodate pricier construction bids.
The UW System asked for an additional $1.7 million to furnish instructional science laboratories, a request the state’s building commission recently approved.
The possibility that the commission might not do so caused some anxiety, Weber said. But “there was an upfront commitment that this will get replenished,” he said.
The renovated Boebel Hall — which will serve students in biology, chemistry and a new environmental science and conservation program — will include 13 teaching laboratories, seven research labs, a lecture hall, conference rooms and spaces for a greenhouse and facility for animal care and outreach.
Departments will move into the building over the summer before it fully opens to students for the fall 2021 semester.
Professor Amanda Trewin, chairwoman of the biology department, said the new space will increase students’ access to laboratory equipment. That ranges from cameras and wall-mounted dissection guides in the cadaver lab to deep freezers used in molecular biology research.
Weber said he was pleasantly surprised construction remained on schedule despite supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If something was slowed down in regards to construction elements, then (workers) are able to transition their focus on another part of the building,” he said.
Boebel’s renovation proceeded concurrent to the construction of another campus structure.
Sesquicentennial Hall, a $55 million engineering building, is rising from the earth along the northwest corner of Southwest Road and Longhorn Drive.
Its footings are being poured. Construction is on track for a spring 2022 completion.