Donations spur CVTC building project

July 24, 2013

From leadertelegram.com: “Donations spur CVTC building project” — by Andrew Dowd – A spurt of donations is pushing forward Chippewa Valley Technical College’s plans for $8 million in renovations and additions to create an Energy Education Center on Eau Claire’s northwest side.

The college was about $1 million away from its private donation goal in spring, but that has been cut in half in recent months.

“We’ve had some significant interest recently,” said Doug Olson, CVTC’s executive director of community relations and facilities.

As gifts to the college’s foundation have helped CVTC get closer to the $2.5 million goal for private investment, Olson gave a general timeline for the project.

Following the Eau Claire City Council’s unanimous support for building plans on Tuesday, Olson said he’s planning to propose the project to the Wisconsin Technical College System Board in November.

Construction would begin in spring 2014 and classes would begin in January 2015, Olson said.

The project consists of a 31,000-square-foot addition and renovations to CVTC’s current 24,000-square-foot Transportation Center, 4000 Campus Road. The council voted 8-0 in favor of the plans with members Kerry Kincaid, Dave Duax and David Strobel absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

It will house current and future classes that have a heavy emphasis on energy-efficient technology including electrical power distribution, heating and cooling systems, civil engineering and even agricultural classes that work with biofuels.

While the classes will teach about “green technology,” the building itself also will abide by those principles.

City Council members Andrew Werthmann and Catherine Emmanuelle both said they are impressed that solar panels on the roof and a geothermal system will help provide energy to the building.

The council inquired if the Energy Education Center means students will have to make more trips to and from CVTC’s main campus at 620 W. Clairemont Ave.

Olson replied that he’s expecting the opposite as students in energy-focused programs will have one building with most of their classes, instead of splitting time between two campuses.

“We’ll probably reduce the number of trips that go back and forth to the Clairemont campus,” he said.

Olson also was pleased to hear Tuesday that the city’s also looking to expand public transit, including to the Energy Education Center.

Proposed modifications to an Eau Claire bus route that will link up with Dunn County’s new intercity service also could pass by CVTC’s West Campus.

In addition to the McDonald’s where the Dunn County and Greyhound buses will stop, the bus route also could include Menards and other businesses on Eau Claire’s northwest side.

A hearing on the bus route will be held in August.

In other business during Tuesday’s council meeting:

  • The final phase of developer Jim Rooney’s Prairie Park project on Eau Claire’s far southeast corner won unanimous approval.

However, a 6-2 vote decided that Rooney must install sidewalks throughout the development, instead of his plan that included a small gap in sidewalks near U.S. 53.

This last phase consists of six eightplex units. Since beginning in 2010, Rooney has already built 11 duplexes, six threeplexes, nine fourplexes and 13 eightplexes. The 33-acre development is along U.S. 53, a half mile south of Interstate 94.

n Eau Claire will again host the U.S. Chainsaw Sculpture Championship on Aug. 8 through 11 in Carson Park.

Since attracting 1,600 spectators in it’s inaugural year, 2011, the event grew to 6,800 last year, according to Larry Doyle, one of the organizers. A crowd of 9,000 is projected for this year’s event.

The council did debate allowing a beer garden during all four days of the event — previously there had just been alcohol allowed on one evening.

A 7-1 vote of the council approved plans to have a small beer garden, which would be fenced off from the rest of the event and attendees cannot bring their drinks outside of it.

And competitors are forbidden to drink any alcohol between midnight and 6 p.m. on days when they’d compete, Doyle said, or they’ll be disqualified.

Werthmann cast the lone dissenting vote, noting that he’s attended the event and likes it, but doesn’t approve of serving alcohol when children are around.

 

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