Work officially begins on Carlson Hall in November

Renovations to UW-Whitewater’s Carlson Hall are expected to begin later this month, creating a new home for the College of Letters and Sciences.

The $17 million project is being funded by the state. However, Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences David Travis said the university is still looking for donors.

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“We are looking for donors to enhance the funding that’s available for things like naming the building,” he said.  “It’s not going to be called Carlson any longer.”

The renovation will be a two-phase project, beginning with “gutting the interior out,” which has been underway for a couple weeks, according to Travis.  From there, construction will take approximately nine months with Fall 2012 as an estimated move-in date.

“That’s been the planned move and the planned completion date,” Travis said.  “We’re kind of now operating on a pretty narrow timeline to get that done but the hope is still there it’s going to happen.”

According to Travis, lecture halls and classrooms will be removed from the building, leaving space primarily for offices, research labs and student organization group spaces.

“Keep in mind, we’re going to have about 150-160 faculty crammed into this one building, so it will be far and away the most heavily occupied building on campus for faculty,” Travis said.

“Particularly on the first floor, we’re going to have a number of research labs where the psychology department will be located … Every department will have a space where the students can congregate and interact, and they can also interact with the faculty nearby.”

Travis said other renovations include a café and more glass on the exterior of the building, providing more natural light.

“It will be a much more welcoming building in that regard and it should feel much more comfortable being inside because you’ll be able to look out of the building and see campus in all directions,” he said.

Renovations will make the building UW-Whitewater’s first LEED-certified, or environmentally-friendly, academic building.

Psychology Professor Greg Cook said an exciting aspect is the unity the renovated building will bring to the College of Letters and Sciences.

“It’s going to be a much nicer situation where they’re all in one building for the first time ever on this campus,” Cook said.  “I think having more visibility on campus that this is where the college of letters and sciences is, that will be useful.”

Travis said having everything under one roof will make it much clearer for students and faculty where everything related to the College of Letters and Sciences is.

“There’ll be a clear location where you go for advising, where you go to meet with faculty, if you want to talk to anyone in the dean’s office, it’s very clear that’s where you go,” he said.

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