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State legislators check out old and new science buildings at UWL



Just before the start of a new school year, several Wisconsin lawmakers have gotten a close look at a UW-La Crosse building which has passed its prime. Members of the workforce development and higher education committees toured Cowley Hall on Monday, as well as the new Prairie Science Center.

Assemblyman Alex Joers of the Madison area attended UWL, so he knows the history of Cowley Hall. “Over a decade ago, I had my first college course just down this hallway,” said Joers, “and even then, you could tell that we needed a little bit of an upgrade here.”

La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow led the group of legislators on the tour of Cowley, which is nearly 60 years old. Gow wants to get many lawmakers behind the Prairie Springs project, in case the legislature tries to change its spending priorities.

Sen. Brad Pfaff was among a group of Wisconsin lawmakers who toured Cowley Hall at UWL on Monday with Chancellor Joe Gow

Plans for a second new science building at UW-La Crosse have been stalled in Madison, ever since the first Prairie Springs Center opened five years ago.

Rep. Jodi Emerson of Eau Claire was surprised about how science labs at La Crosse have become separated from classrooms.

“The classrooms are actually in a different building, and where the staff is located is in a different building,” she told reporters. “It’s amazing, the facilities that are here in a good way,” Emerson said, but also pointed to lecture halls at Cowley that aren’t in fashion any more.

The proposed new $182 million science building has been turned down three times in five years by the state building commission, each time by a tie vote on party lines.

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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  1. walden

    August 28, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    The answer is still “no.”

  2. Walden

    August 28, 2023 at 9:25 pm

    Sure, let’s spend $182 million because “the lecture halls aren’t in fashion anymore.”

    How do these people get elected?

  3. Kent Porter

    August 29, 2023 at 8:00 am

    How about charging triple tuition fees to all the China students on campus that come here on our tax dime study chemistry and NUCULAR science then take all the info back to China and develop THINGS LIKE COVID AND NUKES

    • Accountability

      August 29, 2023 at 3:17 pm

      I think UWL already does that. Most of the Chinese students however prefer the large research oriented universities.

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