The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus will be buzzing with activity this spring as a $27 million project to update the Nursing/Education complex and a separate $8.3 million project to reconstruct Algoma Boulevard get underway.
General contractor bids for the project are due Jan. 26, with construction anticipated to begin in April. This week moving crews were working to vacate classrooms and labs as well as faculty and staff offices that will be temporarily relocated.
In the meantime, the city of Oshkosh is preparing for the reconstruction of Algoma Boulevard—a project that is expected to take place from March to November and encompass a main route running through campus and adjacent to the front of the Clow building.
The highly anticipated Clow project will provide mechanical upgrades to the building and complete its transformation into a modern center for teacher education and UW Oshkosh course delivery. Construction will take place over 16 months.
“The remodeled building will provide the necessary space and facilities to educate and develop the 21st century teacher,” said John Koker, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “’Clow I’ (the first phase of Clow renovation) transformed the way we educated nurses, and this project will do much the same for teachers. The College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) faculty, staff and students need and deserve a state-of-the-art home to work, learn and grow.”
Construction on the academic building will involve fully modernizing the classroom and lab space throughout the facility. It will impact areas from the basement to the sixth floor, including the faculty offices on floors three to six.
The updates are a long time coming.
The Clow project was included in a 2011 budget request that called for renovations to both the College of Nursing and the COEHS. The nursing project was completed in 2016, but the second half of the project was delayed at the state level.
COEHS Dean Linda Haling said a renovated building will help attract prospective students by demonstrating the importance UWO places on teacher preparation.
“Faculty and staff are looking forward to a state-of-the-art facility to prepare educators, school leaders, professional counselors and human services leaders,” Haling said. “Education students will get the benefit of learning in classrooms specifically designed to emulate classrooms in which they will teach, such as an assistive technology lab, a literacy classroom, and an elementary education lab.”
Kevin Shumann, UWO senior facilities architect, said the first noticeable stage of the Clow project will take place when the general contractor fences off a portion of the park lot behind the building. The north half of Lot 25, from the northeast loading dock to an area just short of Woodland Avenue, will be needed for equipment and material prep space.
Faculty and staff may need to park in various other lots—Shumann estimated around a third of the lot would be taken by the contractor.
“Most of the work will be inside the building,” Shumann said, “but we are replacing all the windows and all the roofing. The brick walls will remain. During the exterior work, contractors will be climbing about the outside of the building.”
Shumann, who led construction of the first phase of the Clow renovation, called it a “relief” to finally get the second phase of the project going.
Architectural firm Kahler Slater of Milwaukee handled design. Phase II design was completed at the time Phase I occurred, receiving just a few updates based on current educational needs, Shumann said.
The College of Letters and Science (COLS) administrative offices are being moved to temporary office space on the third and fourth floors of Sage Hall. In August, when remodeling work is complete in Swart Hall, the COLS administrative offices will be moved to their permanent office space in the former daycare space within Swart’s first floor.
The COEHS administrative offices are moving to temporary offices in spaces across campus: Blackhawk (the former Parking Services offices), Halsey, Dempsey, Clow, Polk Library and Swart. The offices will be located permanently in the renovated nursing/education site upon its completion in August 2023.
Coakley Brothers, a commercial moving firm from Milwaukee, was on campus assisting with the massive move-out.
Parking and driving on campus
Besides using a portion of Lot 25, construction crews will occasionally need parts of student Lot 27 near Clow and Lot 4 near Swart Hall for material and equipment deliveries.
Motorists will want to find an alternate route during the Algoma Street reconstruction, which will run from Wisconsin Avenue to Congress Street, by Luxemburg contractor Dorner Inc.
Algoma Street asphalt will be removed as crews work on replacing old underground utilities. The project will include new pavement, sidewalks and lighting.
City of Oshkosh Engineer Justin Gierach said the project schedule has not been finalized with the contractor. He noted some work also will impact High Avenue before the Algoma Boulevard project begins in earnest.
To assist with traffic flow during the Algoma project, the contractor intends to create temporary two-way traffic on High Avenue between Osceola Street and New York Avenue.