State gives final approval to $28 million Harvey Hall renovation

State gives final approval to $28 million Harvey Hall renovation

By University Communications
October 18, 2013
Harvey Hall

Photo: Harvey Hall

It was built nearly 100 years ago and has hosted the likes of John F. Kennedy and the Vienna Boys Choir. Now Harvey Hall, the second oldest building and still the busiest classroom facility at University of Wisconsin-Stout, will get a total makeover.

The Wisconsin State Building Commission unanimously approved spending $28 million to bring Harvey Hall, built in 1916, into the modern age. The commission's vote Wednesday, Oct. 16, in Madison followed the UW System Board of Regents' approval of the project Friday, Oct. 11.

"This project will improve the learning and working environments in Harvey Hall immensely," said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen. "Harvey Hall has a lot of life left, and these improvements are sorely needed."

Work will begin in January with asbestos removal and interior demolition. Construction is expected to start in June 2014, with completion in summer 2015. Faculty and staff have relocated to a residence hall on north campus. After the fall semester, students also will vacate the four-story building until renovation is completed.

"This renovation will upgrade infrastructure, remodel space and greatly improve the functionality and safety of one of UW-Stout's largest and oldest academic buildings," said Maria Alm, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, which is based in Harvey Hall.  

The project is the second part of an improvement plan that began with the 2011 renovation of Harvey Hall Theatre, where Kennedy spoke while campaigning for president and where the Vienna Boys Choir and other well-known groups and artists have performed.  

The second phase, Alm said, "will preserve notable historic spaces while updating crucial building systems. Classrooms, labs and group study spaces will feature 21st century technologies that encourage active learning."

According to the report considered by the Building Commission, much of the infrastructure, including an archaic air handling system, has not been replaced. Classrooms do not meet current standards; they are undersized and poorly configured with inadequate ventilation, lighting, electricity, telecommunications and instructional technology.  

Academic office spaces, the report said, are inefficient because of their configurations. There also is a lack of meeting and conference space.  

The details of the project include:  

  • Reconfigure and upgrade classrooms to meet current standards  
  • Remodel office and other work spaces to increase efficiency
  • Replace mechanical, electrical, plumbing, telecommunications and life safety equipment  
  • Upgrade existing elevator and add another to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements  
  • Construct new ADA compliant restrooms
  • Install new windows and doors that are energy efficient and historically appropriate  
  • Abate asbestos and lead-based paint

The Building Commission action Wednesday comes 100 years after the state Senate and Assembly voted in April 1913 to approve a school request for $265,000, most of which was used to build Harvey Hall.  

In 1986 Harvey Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing building in the Menomonie Downtown Historic District. It was designed by prominent Midwestern architect John D. Chubb, of Chicago.  

The former School of Domestic Science and Home Economics Building eventually was named for Lorenzo Dow Harvey, who served from 1908 to 1922 as president of Stout Institute, the precursor to today's UW-Stout.