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Gov. Evers returns to the classroom at UW-La Crosse to promote science building project



Students working on anatomy lessons at UW-La Crosse saw a few visitors drop in Thursday.

The guests were led by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, who’s a former science teacher. UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow also dropped in.

The governor was on campus as part of a campaign to complete a project on campus that’s been on hold for six years — Phase II of the Prairie Spring Science Center.

Evers thinks state leaders will agree to the project, after putting it off multiple times in the past. It would around $182 million.

“It is highly rated by the system,” Evers told reporters. “They’ve waited a long time, and you know, when they created (building) No. 1, there was an expectation there would be a second one, and so it’s just time for the state to follow through on that promise.”

The second phase of Prairie Springs is in the governor’s new budget, which Republicans, who control the Legislature have said they’ve thrown out and will write their own budget from scratch.

“All the students here that are in the sciences, they should have the opportunity to be in a first-class facility, and this new building will be that,” Evers said.

Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, during his stint as interim UW System President, has promoted the plan, as well.

“You take a look at the buildings we have and some of them are beautiful, but some are crap,” Thompson said almost exactly a year ago. “Now is the time to invest in our university system. When you have an old building that when it rains you need to pull up your pant legs in order to get through because it floods so much, it’s not a proper place for students and faculty and it sends a bad image.” 

Besides touring Prairie Springs, both Evers and state Administration Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld, walked through the existing Cowley Science Hall, built in the 1960s.

Cowley would be torn down and replaced with the new Prairie Springs building, under plans supported by the UW Board of Regents.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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