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MemorialIMG_2872~By Alex Johnson, Facilities Manager

As many of us are intimately aware, over the past several years, the East end of campus has experienced a practically continual series of construction projects. We have been surrounded by large, loud, and dusty renovation projects to the Historical Society, the Library Mall, the Union, etc. The next few years will be no different, but I think it’s important that we all know ahead of time what’s coming. The three major projects that will affect the area most significantly in the coming months and years are the construction of the new St. Paul’s Catholic Center, the Hamel Music Performance Building, and the Alumni Park.

Late this spring, hopefully right after Graduation, the University is going break ground on the Alumni Park. This project, which will occur right between the Red Gym and the Union, will provide the Union with an underground loading dock, and East Campus with additional green space, as well as the final stage of the pedestrian corridor stretching from Lake Mendota, to Regent Street. Throughout construction, which should last until early fall, the 700 block of Langdon Street will be closed. Although the construction itself will be frustrating, I am very excited for the final result of the project. If you’d like to learn some more about the Alumni Park here is a link for more info: http://www.supportuw.org/how-to-give/area-program/alumni-park/

The University and its contracted construction firms are tentatively planning on next spring to start on some fairly extensive projects directly to our South. By this time next year, construction on the Hamel Music Performance Center on the corner of Lake and University will have begun. The Project has a 20 month schedule, and will include the permanent removal of Lot 3 and the addition of an extra turn lane onto University Avenue from Lake Street. For more information on the Hamel Building visit this link: http://www.music.wisc.edu/2014/12/05/new-music-performance-center-named-in-honor-of-the-hamel-family/.

During this project, St. Paul’s Catholic center will also be receiving a major upgrade. St. Paul’s will be completely demolished, and rebuilt in the form of a much larger, and impressive structure. The demolition will take about two months, and construction is projected to take about 16 months. For more info on the New St Paul’s, visit their website here: (link for more info: http://uwcatholic.org/cornerstone/explore-the-new-building/).

The Hamel Building/St. Paul’s project will be serviced by one of the large, and now very familiar tower cranes, and feature some interesting semi and dump truck maneuvering on Lake Street. Until these projects are completed in 2017, It’s going to feel very much like we are under siege down here on the east side of campus. However, if the recently completed State Street Mall/Bascom Hill project is any indication, the reward will be worth it.