By Barbara Young:

While University of Wisconsin–Stout is currently covered in snow, campus management is thinking ahead to warm days in which students, specifically those living on North Campus, can enjoy pleasant weather with the planning of a new green space.

When the university obtained the land currently occupied by the old Ministry building at 108 3rd Ave. W., plans began to create an outdoor space.

“The need for that green space has been there for some time,” said Gary Gust, architect and engineering manager at UW–Stout. “It became apparent years ago.”

The entire lot from Fleming-Hovlid to the Chinese restaurant, Fortune Cookie, will be razed to create the green space.

The space is still in concept, but current construction plans include a plaza for student grilling, a sandlot with volleyball courts, temporary parking and foliage to try and block the street from view and reduce noise.

“Part of the college experience is developing those relationships that will continue for life,” Gust said. “Having an environment that enhances the ability to develop those relationships is important.”

While South Campus has had space for students to enjoy themselves outdoors for some time, this space will be the first of its kind on North Campus.

The idea for outdoor space on North Campus has been on management’s minds for years, but actual planning began last February. Because of the road separating the current dorm land and the newly purchased land, it was necessary to gain city council approval. The process took three months, but approval was received at the council meeting on Jan. 31.

“Now we need approval from the UW system and Division of Facilities Development to be able to finish the design of the facility to prepare the construction documents,” Gust said.

The development team hopes to have everything ready for construction by summer 2015 and the project completed by fall 2015.

The campus has been undergoing many renovations as of late, but in comparison to the Harvey renovation and the dorm renovations, Gust said the new space would be a substantially smaller project.

“This project is probably in the 1 to 2 million dollar range compared to McCalmont, which is an 8 million dollar renovation,” Gust said.

The space will accommodate North Campus’ need for an outdoor space similar to that of South Campus. “We’re accommodating things many of the college students are looking for,” Gust said. “I think it’s a win-win situation for the city, university and students.”

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