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Exterior columns and an exterior wall in two expanded entrances are being constructed with ancient sandstone from a local quarry, Dunnville Cutstone.
A $19 million renovation project will make the Memorial Student Center at University of Wisconsin-Stout seem almost like new when the building reopens in the spring.
A small part of what’s new at the center, however, will be old — very old. Exterior columns and an exterior wall in two expanded entrances are being constructed with ancient sandstone from a local quarry, Dunnville Cutstone.
The quarry is near Downsville, about 10 miles south of Menomonie along the Red Cedar River.
Use of the stone ties the student center, which opened in 1985, architecturally to many historic buildings in Menomonie and throughout the region.
The quarry thrived in the late 1800s and early 1900s before closing. It was reopened in 2005 by Aaron Keopple, a 1994 UW-Stout graduate.
Dunnville stone also was used to accent the recently opened Jarvis Hall Science Wing.
“Being part of two projects at UW-Stout means a lot,” Keopple said. “It’s nice to have an impact in the area, to reopen an old quarry and have the stone go into local buildings.”
The student center east entrance, across from Jarvis Hall, has eight 24-foot-tall columns made from the stone. The entrance will be the backdrop for a new amphitheater, with seating for about 600.
“The amphitheater and new entrances will be great additions to the center. Dunnville sandstone really helps highlight the transformations,” said Darrin Witucki, director of University Centers who is overseeing the renovation.
Both entrances also feature new vertical glass panels.
The new northwest entrance of the student center will have two stone columns and a stone wall. In all, the project will use about 3,500 pieces of Dunnville stone.
“Using local materials was important to us. It’s a sustainable practice. The stone creates a beauty and depth to our project that you just won’t get with anything else,” Witucki said.
Dunnville stone was and still is popular for its “very warm, soft tone and creamy color. It’s a highly sought after color in the market,” said Keopple, who majored in industrial technology with a manufacturing management concentration at UW-Stout.
Stone for the center was quarried in 10- to 12-ton blocks using a new wire saw technique. It then was cut to order in Cold Spring, Minn., Keopple said.
The most celebrated area building with Dunnville stone is Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, four blocks north of the student center on Main Street. It was built in 1889; a recent addition to the building used the same stone. The nearby UW-Stout Louis Smith Tainter House, 320 S. Broadway St., was built in 1890 also with Dunnville stone.
To see a related YouTube video, go to http://www.youtube.com/user/uwstoutvideos.
More sustainable center
Using local stone is one of the sustainable building practices in the student center renovation. The project also uses:
• Brick that was salvaged from areas of the building being remodeled
• Wood from bowling lanes that were removed
• Paneling and wainscoting from Heritage Café, which will not return as part of the new center
Other sustainable efforts include:
• New energy-efficient windows
• 48 percent LED lights
• Fewer and more efficient air handling units
• More natural light