UWO wants more building control

Cari Fehler

According to JoAnn Rife, the planning director for UW Oshkosh’s facilities management, the UW System has requested to change the way campus building projects are presented and approved.

Currently, building projects must be proposed, approved and budgeted for through a state committee, and signed off on by the governor personally. Under this system, it can take anywhere from four to eight years from the initial request to the time they are completed.

The UW System board is looking for the authority to manage all construction and remodeling projects on campuses. Currently, the state Department of Administration Division of Facility Development has authority.

Rife said the change would have many positive impacts for the campus.

“It would save in cost, overall, because the division of state facilities takes a four percent fee off of every project,” Rife said.

The change would also eliminate the need for two people doing the same job.

“The division of state facilities has a construction project manager who comes around once a week to see where the progress is,” Rife said. “But at the same time, our campus staff are also looking at it … We have our own person here who checks in and makes sure the construction team is doing a good job.”

Rife said it would additionally cut the time it takes for a project to be completed.

“We figure that we could save a year to 18 months on our large projects,” Rife said.

Senior student Kassi Baker said the change towards autonomy sounds like a positive one.

“Yeah, if it could save on the amount of time it takes for our buildings to be renovated on campus I am all for that,” Baker said. “Especially if it could save the campus money in the process. That could be used towards additional projects and make our campus look really good.”

Senior Brianna Roesslein said she thinks some sort of committee to answer to would be a good thing.

“As long as there are still regulations and a sense of accountability on the campus to still build safe, quality buildings, I would see it as a great thing,” Roesslein said.

The UW System will find out if this proposed change will be on the docket of issues to discuss at their next meeting in September 2017. The state department was unreachable for comment.