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UWFox Communication Arts Center Proposed

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Proposed
Communication Arts Center
University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley

James W. Perry, Ph.D.
Campus Executive Officer and Dean
University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley
September 2006

On behalf of the faculty, staff, and especially the students of the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, I express my appreciation to the UW Fox Trustees for their unanimous support of the Communications Arts Center (CAC) proposal.

Our students and the campus community are sorely in need of this facility.UWFox Communication Arts Center Proposed

The current multipurpose room was built in 1962. The most recent engineering study (September 2006, prepared by Short Elliot Hendrickson [SEH] Inc., Appleton, WI) states, “The existing facility is not capable of accommodating current curriculum and is deficient in size and service quality.”  The study also identified a large number of significant building code and safety concerns to be addressed if the existing facility is to continue to be used as a facility for instruction and public presentations.

Over the past 30 years, our students and faculty in communication and theatre arts, and music, continued to point out that the existing facility is inadequate for their program needs. Moreover, the need for an upgrade has been documented repeatedly.

 In 1977, a proposal by the campus to Outagamie and Winnebago Counties to build a new communication arts center as part of a larger project was rejected by county supervisors. A counties’ funded study in 1989 again identified deficiencies in the facility and recommended replacement. A 2002 engineering study commissioned once again by Outagamie and Winnebago Counties provided an initial analysis of how to address the campus’ needs. The county boards decided that there were other priorities to deal with and the needed attention was postponed – again.

This year the counties asked for another, updated study.

There are major areas of concern and safety about the present 1962 facility:

  • Access to the control room, wardrobe storage area, and various areas of the current multipurpose room (seat risers, stage, sinks, restroom facilities, and box office) do not meet federal guidelines for disability access (ADA) standards;
  • The  storage, electric and technical controls are outdated and inadequate – for example, the lighting and sound systems are over 40 years old, with some equipment being inoperable and replacement parts no longer available;
  • There is asbestos in the floor tile and PCBs are present in the electrical systems;
  • Plumbing in the facility is in need of repair and does not meet ADA code;
  • Most areas in the facility do not meet fire sprinkler code;
  • Current HVAC does not provide proper ventilation;
  • Electrical power sources are overloaded, increasing the risk of shocks;
  • Emergency lighting is inadequate;
  • The existing facility is too small for many of the programmatic needs;

The 2002 proposal suggested a new facility could be created for $9 million, to be equally shared by the two counties. The State of Wisconsin would have provided additional funds for movable equipment within the proposed communication arts center.

The 2006 study indicates construction costs for the communication arts center – a smaller facility than that envisioned by the 2002 study – exceed the cost estimated in the 2002 recommendation.

We are now “paying the price” for three decades of postponement and procrastination of this vital project.

The following table illustrates the current state of fiscal planning that we now face for the construction of the CAC – after not addressing the construction of this facility in 2002…or in years prior.

Proposed Year of Construction Projected Total Cost

  • 2006: $12,982,973
  • 2007: $13,891,781
  • 2008: $14,864,205

The University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley has offered local education opportunities since 1933. Thousands of local residents have had access to a convenient and cost effective “best start” to their higher education. In 2006 we are the second largest of the UW Colleges campuses with about 1700 students.

The 1959 agreement established the partnership between the State, and Outagamie and Winnebago Counties to provide local education for students unable by circumstance of work, family or finances to start at a four-year campus. However, this relationship must remain symbiotic in order for it to work. A periodic investment by the counties is required for the education of local students. Members of the county boards have been responsive in the past to demonstrated campus needs. Now, 45 years after the general purpose room was built and three studies, the counties have well documented evidence of the need for a change.  We cannot continue with the existing conditions.

We recognize the importance of the communication arts in our academic program at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley. The field is second only to business as the intended major of our students.  Last year, forty percent (40%) of our students enrolled in courses in the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts (CTA) and Department of Music. The need for a quality learning environment for these students is so important that the UW-Fox Valley Foundation Board of Directors has made a decision – for the first time ever – to undertake a capital campaign to provide additional support to the counties in providing academic facilities. (Other capital projects have been undertaken by separate entities.)

We want our CTA and music students, the vast majority who are from Outagamie and Winnebago County to have facilities equal in quality to those that support the teaching and learning of other disciplines on this campus. Engineers, scientists, attorneys, nurses and physicians all need to develop the skills uniquely attributed to the communication arts. A liberal education is about much more than developing the skills in these disciplines. Without being able to communicate effectively, the value of knowledge is nil.

I’m confident that the citizens of our two counties, through the representation of their county supervisors, are willing to support the educational need of our local students, today and into the future. Now is the time to move forward on a project that has languished for 30 years.

 Size/Cost Comparison of Most Recent Studies

2002

2006

Change

Change

 Sq Ft

62,314

39,059

(23,255)

-37.3%

Cost

$12,219,641

$12,982,973

$763,332

6.2%

UW-Fox Valley Communication Arts Center All Costs Included (Construction, Equipment, Fees, etc.) Funding Components and Inflation Effect on Cost and Funding

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Total Cost

12,982,973

 13,891,781

 14,864,205

 15,904,700

 17,018,029

 18,209,291

 19,483,941

Private

2,000,000

2,000,000

2,000,000

2,140,000

2,289,800

2,450,086

2,621,592

UW/State

1,257,000

1,345,000

1,439,150

1,539,891

1,647,683

1,763,021

1,886,432

County 1

4,862,986

5,273,390

5,712,528

6,112,405

6,540,273

6,998,092

7,487,958

County 2

4,862,986

5,273,390

5,712,528

6,112,405

6,540,273

6,998,092

7,487,958

Total

12,982,973

13,891,781

14,864,205

15,904,700

17,018,029

18,209,291

19,483,941

Estimated County Property Tax Cost Cost per $1,000 valuation*

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Outagamie County

0.0319

0.0345

0.0374

0.0400

0.0428

0.0458

0.0490

Winnebago County

0.0571

0.0619

0.0670

0.0717

0.0767

0.0821

0.0878

*Calculation based on 2005 valuation, bond @ 4.50%, Outagamie Co @ 20 year bond, Winnebago Co @ 10 year bond; subject to amortization schedule and changes in property value.

 

Posted 9/15/2006