By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County commemorated the opening of the new Everett Roehl STEM Center with a ribbon cutting held Sept. 12.
The project took less than a year to complete and included renovations to the campus’ existing Aldo Leopold Science Building.
Initiated to address the increasing demand for education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math, the center was funded through a combination of public and private sources, with Wood County and the city of Marshfield each contributing $1 million to the $5.7 million project. The remaining funds came from the private sector through an 18-month capital campaign conducted by the UW-Marshfield/Wood County Foundation.
The building was constructed to allow in natural light, and its classrooms were set up to foster enhanced learning environments.
“This turned out great, and one of the reasons it turned out great is we kept our focus on the students and on pedagogy, so if you look at the configuration of the labs here, they are configured for 21st century pedagogy,” said Keith Montgomery, UW Colleges North executive officer and dean. “The old labs were very industrial. You talk cookbook chemistry, how the students would be standing on their own in long benches, but here the students can get around the benches. Groups of four, they can work on problems together. They can share experiences, so it’s not just what you learn about chemistry. It’s also what you learn about working with other people that employers are looking for.”
“This represents kind of the new and more modern way of education where we are encouraging lots of interaction between and among students, between and among our faculty and staff in order to provide real engagement,” stated UW Colleges and Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen. “This is a gorgeous building, a beautiful building that will change how we educate students and … get more excited and engaged in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but this represents what we really do, and that is transform lives and to make a better future.”
The building is named for Roehl Transport founder Everett Roehl, who was a major donor to the capital campaign.