New engineering building causes mixed reviews


Submitted photo

A model of Sesquicentennial Hall

The new engineering hall, named Sesquicentennial Hall, has stirred up quite a bit of confusion since its plans have come to the attention of the students and staff alike. The new hall is going to replace Ottensman Hall, where currently, the civil and mechanical engineers have most of their classes.

The plan for Ottensman Hall is to get completely remodeled, creating more office and lab space. The new engineering hall is currently planned to be on the corner of Longhorn Drive and Southwest Road, which is across the street from Engineering Hall and next to the track where the small parking lot is.

“We need more lab space for sure but taking out ‘Otts’ [Ottensman Hall] will be killer,” junior mechanical engineering major Nick Plewa said. “There are a decent amount of labs there, especially with the chemistry lab on the third floor.”

While not everyone supports the new building and remodel, others are in full support.

“It seems like something this campus needs to stay on par in the engineering world,” junior engineering major Rachael Ellias said.

The full project has been given a budget of 55 million dollars and will potentially accommodate up to 800 freshmen and 200 transfer students. On August 16, the Wisconsin Joint Committee of Finance approved the funding on a 16-0 vote and the Wisconsin State Assembly has already approved the budget. The new building will be budgeted into the new state budget but it still needs to be voted on by the state senate. If approved, it will go to governor Scott Walker to get his signature.

While there may still be some confusion as to why the building is needed, it’s important to note that the Joint Committee of Finance held a public hearing on campus and it showed that there was indeed a need for Sesquicentennial Hall.

“There has been a 40% growth in engineering since 2010,” Chancellor Shields said. This many not seem like a huge number, but the University of Wisconsin-Platteville graduates the second most engineers in the state and of those, approximately 75% of the engineering students who graduate remain in Wisconsin.

“The programs for engineering that are still in Ottensman Hall, it’s the biggest engineering program and it has the most outdated equipment,” Shields said.  He went on to say, “It [Sesquicentennial Hall] will clearly be used so that we may be able to accommodate and address in Sesquicentennial Hall or in the remodel within the next few months.”