UW-Rock dorm project approved by Janesville City Council

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Nick Crow
Wednesday, July 2, 2014

JANESVILLE--While it was one step forward last week with plans for a proposed residential dorm on the UW-Rock County campus, many details remain unclear.

Cindy Zaharias, executive director of the UW-Rock County Foundation, said the foundation was happy the Janesville City Council unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for the dorm last week.

“We're really pleased with the city and what's happened so far,” Zaharias said.

She stopped short however, of announcing any other details, such as how much money needs to be raised, when groundbreaking is expected and when the dorm could open.

“Really all that I've already said is what we're saying right now,” Zaharias said. “We're going to be meeting this week to figure the next step out and will announce it when we have more to say.”

Foundation board member Larry Barton told the Janesville City Council last week the project would be built using no government funds. He said the group was waiting to begin fundraising until after the issue went in front of the council.

The project was in front of the council because most of the 4.93-acre parcel of property was zoned as R-3, a general residence district.

But a sliver of the property was zoned R-1, which is single-family residential. It needed to be changed to R-3 in order for the project to move forward.

In December 2013, the Rock County Board voted 25-5 to approve the site plan for the 120-student residential dorm. The county owns the land the dorm will be built on, but it is zoned by the city, which is why it had to go before both governing bodies.

The foundation has formed a separate nonprofit, the Rock Residential Foundation, to work on the dorm project.

Previously, Carmen Wilson, dean of the university, said the dorm could be an economic driver by increasing enrollment and appealing to international students.

Enrollment at UW-Rock dropped by 100 students to 1,200 in fall 2013.

Wilson deferred comment on the project at this stage to the foundation.

CD Smith Construction Services of Appleton is working with the foundation on the project.

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