UW-La Crosse looks to get new science center to replace decrepit Cowley Hall

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is looking to demolish Cowley Hall and begin the second phase of its process in updating its science buildings.

Cowley Hall, which was built in 1965, has faced issues with air circulation, leaks and flooding in recent years.

“It’s falling apart,” said Roger Haro, associate dean of the College of Science and Health at UWL.

“We can really do a lot more,” Haro said. “This is a really important project for us and our students.”

During the initial proposal, one out of two building was approved for construction. The first phase was completed in 2018.

“Project was really only half finished,” Haro said.

Tommy Thompson, former interim president of the UW system, said the second building’s construction should have been approved in the first phase.

“And all this time in between is over arguments and who’s got the responsibility,” Thompson said.

Thompson says the state needs to improve its process for approving funding for college buildings.

“It takes way too long and costs way too much money,” he said.

Faculty say a new building is necessary for students’ education.

“Having the right space to do that is very very important for them,” Haro said.

The proposal for the new building has made it to Gov. Tony Ever’s budget, but it will be sent to the budget committee because of a split vote from the State Building Commission. The projected is expected to cost $110 million.

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