Alumni Outlook Magazine




Charles W. Sorensen
The 2007 academic year promises to be a productive, exciting year of planning and change. O Our enrollments are right on target, we are initiating an aggressive marketing and branding campaign around our new polytechnic designation, and we finally have a budget! T This allows us to continue to plan aggressively and receive actual financial support and positions us to fund our efforts.

This budget means that we can get on with the important business of educating our students so they graduate and become productive taxpayers and involved citizens. It finally reverses the steady decline in state support for public higher education in Wisconsin. We can use this budget at UW-Stout to move forward as Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University.
The budget, adopted by the Legislature, includes a partnership with UW-Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley Technical College called NanoSTEM that has initiatives in the areas of biotechnology and nanoscience. It also adds money for two new majors at UW-Stout in polymer engineering and computer/electrical engineering.
This part of the UW System’s Growth Agenda is tailored to meet the needs of students and employers in western Wisconsin.

Here are the details of what the budget means for UW-Stout:

1. Harvey Hall Theatre Remodeling: The project spends $5.14 million to upgrade the Harvey Hall Theatre, which was built in 1916 and has had periodic updates since. The project includes improving accessibility; and replacing the sound system, lighting, rigging, curtains and tracks. The balcony will be reconstructed to eliminate a tripping hazard. Seating will be replaced, which will reduce the capacity from 600 seats to 400 seats. The shop, control rooms and dressing rooms will be renovated, with electrical, plumbing and furnishing upgrades. There also will be ventilation improvements. Much of the building has the original heating and ventilation systems, and improvements made in the 1970s have reached the end of their service lives. Construction is anticipated to begin in winter 2009 with completion in late fall to early winter 2010.

2. Price Commons Second Floor Renovation: The project spends $3.08 million to renovate the second floor of the Price Commons, which was built in 1967. The work includes asbestos abatement, and upgrading the mechanical systems and the food service area.

3. Funding for the $3 million NanoSTETEM initiative (a partnership between UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley Technical College): At UW-Stout this means providing two new programs important to the plastics and high-technology sectors in the Chippewa Valley – the polymer engineering and the computer/electrical engineering majors. Furthermore, the NanoSTETEM part of the budget provided money to add two faculty members for biotechnology and two positions for nanotechnology. There are also positions for the polymer and computer/electrical programs.

4. Financial aid: UW-Stout has about 300 students waiting for financial aid under the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant program, and the budget will help alleviate this waiting list.

UW-Stout has earned a national reputation for excellence in many areas because we have a well-defined mission. That mission is clear and we plan in a bold, dynamic way. Our agenda, now planned around the polytechnic designation, ensures that our reputation, earned by the effort and hard work of our faculty, staff, students and graduates, will be retained.