UPDATE: New UWL fieldhouse estimated to provide 800 jobs

Groundbreaking set for August; completion by 2022
Uw L Fieldhouse Jpg

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) – A new fieldhouse and soccer facility at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, which is estimated to provide 800 jobs during construction, received final funding approval from the Wisconsin State Building Commission Thursday.

Student-segregated funding will pay for the $49 million project, with groundbreaking expected in August 2020 and completion by September 2022. It will replace a 55-year-old fieldhouse that was built for 3,000 students and squeezes the more than 10,000 students it serves today. Approved by the UW Board of Regents in December, the project is expected to be a boon to the local economy.

The project is expected to have a total economic impact of $94 million, based on broader uses for the new fieldhouse and soccer complex, as well as providing more than 800 jobs for construction, according to its design report.

“Construction on campus means an uptick in jobs and our local economy,” said Rep. Jill Billings, D-La Crosse, who voted for the funding as chairwoman of the building commission’s Higher Education Subcommittee.

“Once completed, this facility will not only serve the needs of students at UW-La Crosse, but will boost our local economy,” Billings said. “By updating our facility, we’ll be able to host NCAA competitions and provide opportunities to host other athletic events that can increase tourism spending in the region.”

No state tax dollars would be used for the project,which is to be paid for with student funds, as well as and program revenue.

The 141,243 gross-square-foot fieldhouse will allow UWL to host National Collegiate Athletic Association events, unlike the current facility, which doesn’t meet NCAA standards. It also will provide classroom space for UW-La Crosse’s rapidly growing Exercise and Sports Science program and increase accommodations for the annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association’s annual Track and Field State Tournament.

The new fieldhouse, to be constructed east of Roger Harring Stadium between the stadium and Emerson Elementary School, will accommodate a minimum of 1,500 spectators, according to the design. It will include a 200-meter, eight-lane NCAA competition indoor track, with the infield being used for field events, baseball and softball practice and intramural and club sporting activities. The second level will have a walking/jogging track and provide access for academic lab work in the Exercise and Sports Fitness program.

The south end of the fieldhouse will have men’s and women’s team locker rooms and showers, a team meeting room, multipurpose rooms, a training room, one office suite, and equipment storage for athletics, exercise, sports science and recreation.

The school’s soccer venue was relocated to provide space for the fieldhouse. A new synthetic surface soccer venue for athletics, recreation and
club sports replaced the original natural turf fields. The fieldhouse project includes a soccer support facility that will include team rooms, a press box, restrooms, equipment storage area and a room for officials.

A full description and other information about the project is on pages 32-35 of the building commission’s agenda.