UWP Living and Learning Center

October 3, 2002

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PLATTEVILLE-Waking up to the sounds of roosters crowing and cows grazing won't just be for farm folk much longer. The University of Wisconsin-Platteville will break ground this fall on the Living and Learning Center at the Pioneer Farm.

The $1.2 million facility, none of which is funded by state tax dollars, will provide lodging for students, faculty, youth groups, producers and national and international guests of the University. The Living and Learning Center will be located between the bull-testing center and the education center at the Pioneer Farm, located several miles south of Platteville, off Highway 80.

"The new Living and Learning Center will be ideal for UWP faculty, staff and student retreats as well as hosting national and international visiting scientists, youth camps and other farm visitors," said Duane Ford, UWP Dean of the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture. "The center will have overnight guest accommodations, meeting rooms and seminar facilities."

The facility is a joint venture between UWP Student Housing and Dining Services, which will build and furnish the center and then staff and manage it.

"Our intention is to have the Living and Learning Center be a lot like a residence hall in its bare form," said Rhonda Viney, director of student housing. "There will be 12 rooms with two twin beds and a table in each room, and a bathroom will be located between every two rooms. The rooms will not have televisions, although they will be capable of TV hookup. The idea is to provide short-term, nice, comfortable, convenient accommodations, but not luxury accommodations."

For youth groups, such as 4-H, bunk bed options are being explored to increase the number of young people the facility could accommodate. The bunks would be set up on a temporary basis, however.

In addition to the guest rooms, the center will have a kitchen, dining area and lounge/meeting room. An informal outdoor dining/activity area similar to a courtyard will be centered in the middle of the "U" shaped building. The courtyard area may also be used for other University receptions, separate from overnight events and retreats.

A small apartment will be built onto the facility to house an on-sight manager who will most likely have other related responsibilities within the housing department.

Construction of the Living and Learning Center is expected to be complete by the fall of 2003, enhancing the University's partnership with the Wisconsin Agricultural Stewardship Initiative.

"In the long run, we envision the Pioneer Farm and the Living and Learning Center to be a place of education, research, outreach, rest, relaxation and play," Ford said. "If the center becomes as prominent as we hope, it will attract tourism dollars and the Pioneer Farm will become a keystone piece in what's going on with the agricultural technology zone proposed by the Southwest Wisconsin Economic Development Coalition. Success at the Pioneer Farm will translate into a more profitable agricultural industry."

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