UW-Rock County dorm project pushes forward

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Nick Crow
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

 JANESVILLE — A record-setting winter led to a delay in construction of the proposed 120-student dorm on the UW-Rock County campus, Dean Carmen Wilson said Tuesday.

She expects groundbreaking this fall and the dorms opening to students in fall 2015.

"There were a lot of pieces that had to fall into place," Wilson said. "We were initially aggressive with our timeline.

"What killed the project for an opening this fall was the winter we had. It became pretty clear early on that the winter wasn't going to allow work to happen. So we decided to slow the timeline down."

Wilson hopes the residence hall will boost enrollment, which dropped by 100 students to 1,200 in fall 2013.

The UW-Rock County Foundation, a nonprofit that supports students and professionals at the college, is raising money to build the dorms on a 4.93-acre parcel on campus. The organization formed a separate nonprofit, the Rock Residential Foundation, for the project, Wilson said.

“The funding will initially be paid for by the developer,” Wilson said. “The costs will then be transferred once the dorms are financially viable.”

Wilson said CD Smith Construction Services of Appleton is working with the foundation on phase one, which includes artist renderings, site plans and zoning, Wilson said.

“Having this residence hall is desirable,” Wilson said. “We are already getting calls from parents who asked to be added to the waiting list.”

The dorms will be an economic driver for  the school and community, Wilson said. She hopes to attract students from farther away and possibly international students.

“With Janesville public schools looking at more international students, we look forward to encouraging some of them to attend UW-Rock County,” Wilson said.

School and city officials met with neighbors May 8 to discuss the plans, Wilson said, adding that residents didn't ask many questions.

“It was an opportunity for members of the community to get information,” Wilson said. “People seemed really satisfied with the end result.”

The plans next go to the Janesville Plan Commission to rezone a sliver of land that's part of the project.

That property is zoned R-1, which is single-family residential. It needs to be R-3, a general residence district, Wilson said.

If the rezoning is approved, the college will be issued a conditional-use permit. Two public hearings then will be conducted before a presentation to the city council June 23.

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