By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — During a presentation to the Marshfield Common Council Tuesday, project planners for UW-Marshfield/Wood County’s (UW-M/WC) new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) facility announced that a ceremonial groundbreaking is slated for July 28.
Representatives from architecture firm Bray Architects and Miron Construction Company Inc., two companies collaborating to plan the construction of the facility, presented renderings of the future building, a floor plan, and a timeline for the project at Tuesday’s meeting.
The project was scheduled to go out for bids on Wednesday, bids would be reviewed July 11, and construction would ramp up shortly after the July 28 groundbreaking ceremony. The council was told that the new facility is scheduled to be complete by mid-May of 2017.
The scope of the project has been scaled back from original designs. Initially, the intent was to both build the new STEM facility and significantly renovate existing science facilities on campus. That plan required $8 million, $6 million to be privately raised and $1 million each from the city of Marshfield and Wood County. Private fundraising has — at this point, according to Dean Keith Montgomery — reached about $3.6 million. The funding from the city and county remains constant at $2 million total.
The focus of the project is now to complete the new STEM facility and to pursue minor changes to existing science facilities, including turning two chemistry labs “into regular classrooms,” said Sherry Wall of Miron Construction.
All construction work is scheduled to be complete and facilities ready for use by students in the fall of 2017, Wall said.
Michael Hacker of Bray Architects said there are “bid strategies in place” so that items could be added or removed from the project depending on the bids that are received.
“We’re confident we’re going to continue to raise funds over the next several months,” Montgomery said.
Project planners hope that the new STEM facility will in effect create a new main entrance point for the entire campus.
“What we’ve done here is located the major frontage of the building along Fifth Street,” said Alan Wold of Bray Architects. “Although it is a science building addition, it’s really set up to sort of connect you to the rest of the university campus.”