Officials dedicate new engineering building
By Alyssa Koch
photo by Alyssa Koch
Campus executive officer and dean Martin
Rudd, county executives Thomas Nelson
and Mark Harris and Fox Cities Chamber
of Commerce member Pamela Hull cut ribbon
at the U building dedication ceremony Sept. 19.
The building that now houses the engineering program at 1655 University Drive had an open house, dedication, and ribbon ceremony Sept. 19. The event gave people a chance to check out the recently remodeled building.
UW-Fox, in collaboration with UW-Platteville, gives students and working adults the opportunity to earn bachelor’s degrees in engineering at the Menasha campus.
"It allows people to stay in their local region, keep their jobs, get their four-year degrees... we need to keep engineers here, and the best way to keep them here is to grow them here," Christa James-Byrnes, coordinator for the University of Wisconsin Colleges engineering program said.
The program began in 2002 for mechanical engineers. Electrical engineering classes were then added in 2006.
The engineering programs offer traditional and non-traditional students a convenient way to stay close to home while pursuing their degrees.
The University of Wisconsin Colleges and Winnebago and Outagamie counties made significant investments for the project.
The two counties split the cost of property acquisition and improvements and the UW System pays for ongoing costs, including supplies, program expenses, and utilities.
"It will lead to a better educated population and improved economic conditions in the Fox Valley and the state," assistant campus dean for administrative services, Jim Eagon said.
Purchasing the property, installing an elevator, and completing the renovations cost $3,220,584. The cost of new teaching equipment and furnishings was $561,000.
"In the M building, at 1478 Midway Road, the former area used by the engineering program was renovated to create three new classrooms equipped for distance education and face-to-face classes. Renovation of three additional rooms created adjacent spaces where learning assistance is provided for math, writing, and for tutoring services in all disciplines," Eagon said.
Modifications to the U building, at 1655 University Drive, include accessibility for handicap persons and teaching and lab facilities designed for education instruction in mechanical and electrical engineering. Many preexisting interior wall separations were removed to provide open spaces for instruction, studying, and offices.
The newly renovated U building offers students across the state a chance to participate in the program, with a new computer lab and distance learning technologies.
"We have approximately 45 mechanical engineering students and 20 or so electrical engineering students. We probably, this semester, have an enrollment of an additional 60 students across the state that are enrolled in the classes that are initiated here," Jennifer Jensen, UW-Platteville engineering program manager, said.
The program’s goal is to train and educate engineering students and release them into the work force.
"This building, this program that we dedicate today, I believe will go a long way in building on the strength of other post-secondary institutions in our community, as well as making a vital contribution to our local economy today, while securing our future for many generations to come," Tom Nelson, Outagamie County executive Tom Nelson said.