Members of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville community, partners, and local leaders gathered on Oct. 6 to celebrate the construction of the forthcoming Sesquicentennial Hall – UW-Platteville’s newest state-of-the-art engineering building.
The $55 million Sesquicentennial Hall will adjoin Busby Hall of Engineering to create a 200,000-square-foot complex that supports interdisciplinary engineering and computer science. A massive innovation center, an accessible green roof, exposed building infrastructure, and several state-of-the-art teaching laboratories will make the building itself a learning tool and a national exemplar for transforming engineering education.
“This building project is one of the ways that we can continue to provide our campus, our staff and our students with the best possible environment to achieve their academic and professional goals,” said Chancellor Dennis J. Shields. “We are educating students for the jobs of the future.”
Attendees signed a structural beam, which was raised to the roof to conclude the outdoor ceremony across from the three-story structure.
Chancellor Shields thanked a number of partners both on and off campus who made this project a reality, including Miron Construction, BWBR Architects, and local legislators who were instrumental in championing the building project and gaining approval for it in the 2017-19 state budget – Wisconsin State Senator Howard Marklein and Representatives Travis Tranel and Todd Novak.
One of the distinguishing features of the new building is its commitment to a sustainable design.
“We listened to the students,” said Dr. Philip Parker, interim dean of the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science. “They really wanted this building to have a strong environmental mission.”
Environmentally-friendly features of the new building include solar panels on the roof, enhanced energy efficiency, electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot, a state-of-the-art storm water system that will double as a teaching tool for students, and an expansive bicycle infrastructure.
“As a result of all of this, this building will be LEED certified,” said Parker. “LEED certification is the most recognized certification for a green building. It puts a stamp of approval on our building and on our mission of how environmentally conscious we want it to be.”
Sesquicentennial Hall will be home to the future Huff Family Innovation Center, which is slated to be one of the largest makerspaces in the Midwest with nearly 20,000-square-feet of space to support innovation and entrepreneurship.
“It will support innovators of all backgrounds, including all majors across campus, as well as those within our community and beyond campus,” said Dr. Jodi Prosise, professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “The Huff Family Innovation Center will strive to make all users, regardless of major or level of experience, feel welcome to participate.”