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UW-Superior dedicates Swenson Hall, its newest academic building

Posted on Aug 4, 2011
Donors and dignitaries join the campus community in dedicating UW-Superior's new academic building: Swenson Hall.
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Jim Swenson addresses the assembled guests at the dedication of Swenson Hall.

Jim Swenson addresses the assembled guests at the dedication of Swenson Hall.

People who played critical roles in launching the University of Wisconsin-Superior's Swenson Hall - the biggest construction project in school history - gathered on campus Thursday, Aug. 4, to dedicate the new academic building just days before it opens for classes.

"I can tell you that Swenson Hall will have a big impact - no, make that a profound impact -- on our campus, and the way we teach and learn here," Chancellor Renée Wachter told guests attending the building's dedication ceremony.

See photos from the dedication ceremony.

Begun in 2009, the 144,000-square-foot Swenson Hall opens to students at the end of August. It is home to six of UW-Superior's academic departments and features classrooms with flexible layouts and the latest learning technology, specialized labs for teaching and undergraduate research, faculty offices, and student tutoring services and academic centers.

Swenson Hall is named for Jim and Sue Swenson, UW-Superior alumni who made a substantial gift to ensure the success of the building project.  A total of 18 members of their families have attended UW-Superior since 1918, and Jim and Sue Swenson have always felt that their family members were shaped by their experience at this university.

In his remarks, Jim Swenson praised the new building as one that is "unique, functional and that will truly raise the bar at this university."

Among those recognized for their work in securing state approval for construction of Swenson Hall were former Gov. James Doyle; Sen. Bob Jauch, Rep. Nick Milroy and retired Rep. Frank Boyle; retired U.S. Rep. David Obey; and Superior attorney Toby Marcovich, who is a former president of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. Also recognized was retired Chancellor Julius Erlenbach, who oversaw the project from its earliest days.

Wachter also thanked the many UW-Superior employees who played a role in the project, doing everything from serving on design committees to setting up the building's technology and moving the contents of offices and classrooms.

"In just a few days, the first students to use this building will come through those doors," Wachter told the assembled guests, dignitaries and donors. "They will fill the classrooms, labs and study spaces as they prepare to become the driving force of our state and our nation. On their behalf, and for the students who will benefit from this building in the decades to come, I extend our sincere thanks.

The Swenson Hall project cost a total of $32 million, which includes dismantling and recycling two obsolete campus buildings later this year and building a new campus greenhouse next year.

University officials point out that Swenson Hall includes centers and student resource areas that foster activities such as writing, undergraduate research, and academic service-learning, all of which are high-impact practices that research shows assist student learning, increase student retention and help close the achievement gap. It also places many faculty members in close proximity to their students and to one another, creating informal opportunities for discussion and learning.

In addition, Swenson Hall was built as an environmentally sustainable building designed for maximum energy efficiency and to make use of natural light. The building includes floor tile, carpet, ceramic tile and other building products made from recycled materials.

News Contact: Al Miller | 715-394-8260 | amiller{atuws}
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