UW-La Crosse receives record donation

The new $82 million science building that’s going up across from Veterans Memorial Sports Complex now has its name.

The building will be called the Prairie Springs Science Center, as part of a record $2 million donation.

Husband and wife Carolyn and Jay Scott wanted to honor Carolyn’s late brother Paul Fleckenstein.

The UWL graduates are donating from a trust in Fleckenstein’s name in support of the new science center for student scholarships and research programs.

“That really does position us to be the leader in science education in Wisconsin and in the region,” Carolyn Scott, sister and trustee of Paul Fleckenstein, said.

Fleckenstein was a man who could always bring a smile to people’s faces.

“He was a funny person,” Carolyn Scott said.

Fleckenstein was a graduate of Brookfield East High School and spent his college years at Marquette University.

He was heavily involved in projects that helped inner-city youth learn about the environment.

“He always had a passion for the outdoors,” Carolyn Scott said. “As a little kid we would hike in the undeveloped parts of Brookfield at the time.”

There was a place that Fleckenstein called Prairie Springs, which he helped restore to its natural habitat.

“He was a prudent individual,” Carolyn Scott said. “I think he definitely wanted to invest in high quality good value.”

Paul died in 2011 at the age of 47, but his legacy will remain with the young minds of UW-La Crosse.

“As a family member, I am incredibly touched,” Carolyn Scott said. “You know, you have that loss and you know no one wants to see someone’s life end really early.”

The $2 million gift in his name provides some closure for those who are left behind.

“The sadness and hole that he left has been filled and continues to be filled for us as a family personally,” Carolyn Scott said.

It’s giving future students more opportunities to grow and learn.

“There’s a sense of healing and joy,” Carolyn Scott said.

Chancellor Joe Gow said the UWL Foundation started the Share the La Crosse Experience scholarship campaign for students in 2013.

With this donation, the foundation is 85 percent closer to reaching its goal of $15 million.