Frequently Asked Questions

How would the new building be funded? Current and future students of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse would pay for the student center project through segregated fees. The fees would be implemented gradually over the course of the next 3-4 years, until Fall 2016, when the project would be completed. The full amount would be assessed at that time. No tax dollars would be involved in the project.

What is the construction timeline for both projects? Construction of a new student center would occur during 2014-15 with an opening date in fall 2016. Cartwright Center would stay open until the project is finished. A repair to Cartwright Center would follow the same timeline; but the entire building would be closed for 18-24 months during the construction process, and re-opened in fall 2016. These dates are dependent on project approval.

When was Cartwright Center built? Cartwright Center opened in 1958; UW-La Crosse had 1,772 students at that time. In 1964, enrollment increased to 2,987 and an addition to Cartwright Center occurred. In 1984, the “Gunning Addition” was added to Cartwright. The building is currently named for long-time Dean of Women, Edith Cartwright, and long-time Dean of Men, Richard Gunning.

Cartwright Center looks fine. Why are we looking to replace the building? Parts of Cartwright Center are more than 50 years old. Despite cosmetic changes, the infrastructure of the building has become challenging. There are concerns regarding plumbing, heating, air conditioning, accessibility, safety codes, roofs, flooding when there is a heavy rainfall, and sustainability of the facility. Additionally, the age of the facility poses a difficult problem when systems break down and a replacement part is no longer being manufactured. The facility needs major maintenance and upgrades to remain functional. Lastly, the three additions have left a facility that is fragmented, lacking student comfort and accessibility.

What would happen to Cartwright Center? If a new student center is built, Cartwright could be used as temporary space for other construction projects on campus. In the end, it would eventually be torn down. East Avenue would be extended to State Street, and green space would be added to the campus.

How long would the repair last? If Cartwright Center were repaired, additional maintenance and repairs would be needed in approximately 15 years, whereas a new facility would not require maintenance for approximately 25-30 years. 

Where would the new student center be located? The proposed student center would sit in the space that is currently occupied by the Wimberly parking lot (Commuter Lot 6). The Police and Parking Services Building, as well as the parking spaces, would be reconstructed in a Parking Ramp that will be open Spring/Summer 2013 in the parking lot across the street from the Cleary Center (Commuter Lot 11).

What would be in the new student center?The proposed student center would function as the ‘living room’ of the campus, including lounge space with gas fireplaces and ‘hangout’ space for students to study and relax. Meeting rooms for student organizations are being designed to better fit the size of student organization programming. Two major program spaces would exist, a larger multipurpose room than Valhalla, and an entertainment café. Dining concepts will expand and an outdoor programming space would be developed. Recreation spaces would also be available, but are undefined at this time.

What would the new Student Center look like? The preliminary architectural drawings are impressive! The building edifice was designed to emulate Grandad Bluff, a defining feature of La Crosse. Check out some of the pre-design renderings at:

Would the new student center be open 24/7? The current hours of Cartwright Center would expand to accommodate late night use of the entertainment café, but the entire facility will close at 1 or 2 a.m.

Is it true that if Cartwright is repaired, it would be closed for up to two years? Yes. To complete the extensive repairs needed for the structure, the building would be closed for up to two years.  Relocation of offices, Textbook Services, the University Bookstore, and limited kitchen space would cost approximately $6 million alone and would not be recouped. Food service and dining space would be considerably restricted and meeting space would be limitedly absorbed throughout campus. Organizations and student groups would need to think creatively about hosting particular events throughout the 18- 24 month closure period.

What would the new student center be called? This has not been determined. Students will name the facility.

How will the new student center project decision be made? Students will make the decision by voting on a referendum.

Where and when can I vote? The referendum will be included as part of the Student Senate election April 10, 2012. That morning each student will receive an email invitation to participate in the election online.

Who is eligible to vote? All UW-La Crosse students are eligible to vote

Dollars and Cents

How much will this cost? Students currently pay $136.06 per semester for Cartwright Center and its operational costs.
• Repair of Cartwright would be about $32 million. This would mean an additional $125
semester fee for each student for 20 years.
• A new Student Center is projected to cost $55 million. This would mean an additional $155 semester fee for each student for 30 years.

Fees for either project will begin to be charged for 2012-13 with a fee increase of $10 per semester. This fee will increase to $20 per semester in 2013-2014.  When the facility opens in 2016 the new full fee will be charged. 
*FY= Fiscal Year

Option 1: Cartwright Repair & Maintenance Project
FY13: $20 per year or $10 per semester
FY14: $20 per year or $10 per semester
FY15: $20 per year or $10 per semester
FY16: $20 per year or $10 per semester
FY17: $170 per year or $85 per semester
Total Fee Increase: $250 per year or $125 per semester

Option 2: New Student Center Project  
FY13: $20 per year or $10 per semester
FY14: $20 per year or $10 per semester
FY15: $20 per year or $10 per semester
FY16: $20 per year or $10 per semester
FY17: $230 per year or $115 per semester
Total Fee Increase: $310 per year or $155 per semester

*Note: The “step-up” or “ramp-up” of fees is because the fee accumulates each year as we “grow” into the new overall Segregated Fee rate for the University Center. The amount of the fee will “step-up” as follows:
Annual Fee Increase Summary
Year 1: $20(FY13) = $20
Year 2: $20(FY13) + $20(FY14) = $40
Year 3: $20(FY13) + $20(FY14) + $20(FY15) = $60
Year 4: $20(FY13) + $20(FY14) + $20(FY15) + $20(FY16) = $80
Year 5: $20(FY13) + $20(FY14) + $20(FY15) + $20(FY16)  + $230 (FY17) =  $310