Administration and Residence Halls Telephone Systems

The following information covers the most frequently asked questions about the telephone system at UW-La Crosse. If you need further information about the system, call 785-8002.

How do I reach the university operator and when are they on duty?
Dial 5-8000 for an operator. There is 24-hour coverage of the university switchboard seven days a week.

How do I make a call within the system?
Dial the last five digits of the number listed in the directory. To call a university extension number from off campus, dial the seven-digit number shown in the directory.

How do I place an outgoing local call?
Dial "8" plus the desired La Crosse or area seven-digit number directly. This includes:

La Crosse 779, 780, 781, 782, 784, 785, 787, 788, 789, 791, 792, 796
Onalaska 783
West  Salem 786
Holmen 526
Stoddard 457
Coon Valley 452
Chaseburg 483
La Crescent 895

Do NOT use the long distance access code for these prefixes or you will be charged for a long distance call.

How do I contact directory assistance?
For information in La Crosse or any area code, dial 3+1+area code+555-1212. Directory assistance charges will be billed to the department or unit using the service. For assistance in locating an area code, call the campus operator at 5-8000.

How do I place a long distance call?
All long distance calls for university business are to be placed on the State Telephone System (STS) which provides direct dialing at reduced rates to all states including Alaska and Hawaii, and to Canada, Virgin Islands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.

For long distance calls, dial "3", the area code, and the seven-digit number. For international calls, dial 3+011+country code + number. If all circuits are busy, you will hear a "fast" busy signal. A "slow" busy signal means the number called is in use.

No person-to-person calls may be made on STS, nor can STS calls be made from a phone outside the system.

Some telephone lines are restricted to local calls only. If you cannot complete a long distance call, you may be using a restricted telephone. Telephone Services can verify this for you.

May I make long distance personal telephone calls on the state telephone system (STS)?
It is illegal to use the STS for personal telephone calls. You may NOT use the STS network for a personal call and then reimburse the university. You may charge personal calls to your calling card using the public network or use the pay telephones located in most buildings on campus.

How do I place personal long distance, collect, credit card, or "800" calls?
Dial 8+0+number calling for collect or credit card calls. To dial toll-free (800) or (888) numbers, dial 8+1+800+number.

May I accept a collect call on a university telephone?
No, collect calls may not be accepted. If you are called collect, explain that you cannot accept the call but will return it if the caller leaves a number.

How do I transfer an incoming call to another campus extension?
Press FLASH button, hear stuttered dial tone, dial the five digit extension, wait to announce the transfer and hang up. If the extension is busy, press FLASH twice and you will be reconnected to the caller. If you do not know which extension to transfer the call to, press FLASH and dial 5-8000 for the campus operator. Note: Multiple line telephone users will use the Conf. 3 button.

How do I forward calls?
For university phones that are programmed with Call-Forward-Universal:

  1. Pick up the receiver and listen for dial tone.
  2. Dial the call-forward access code, "172" and the five-digit extension you would like to receive your calls.
  3. You will hear ringing. Wait for that person to answer and then announce your call-forwarding intentions. This procedure will ensure proper and courteous answering procedures by the person receiving your calls.

To release the call-forward universal feature, pick up the receiver, dial "173," then replace the receiver.

Call-Forward Busy and Call-Forward No Answer are additional features available in the telephone system. For information about these features call Telephone Services, 5-8002.

How do I arrange a small group conference call? (4 or more persons)
For phones with the conference feature:

  1. Dial the first party and inform the caller of a conference call.
  2. Press FLASH, dial "132" and the number of the next party.
  3. Repeat until all parties are in.
  4. Press FLASH and dial "132" to enter yourself.

How do I place a conference call for a large group?
Room Reservations in 221 Cartwright Center has equipment and facilities for ETN teleconference meetings. Call 5-8892 for information. Make teleconference arrangements through the state clearing house in Madison. The phone number is 608-262-0753. There is a nominal fee for this service.  You may also use the WisLine and more information is provided at

What other features are available on the telephone system?
Some of the most frequently requested features are:

  1. Three-Way Calling. While in a two-way conversation, press FLASH, dial the third number, press FLASH again, and all three will be connected.
  2. Ring Again (call-back queuing). When you reach a busy campus extension, press FLASH, dial 112, and hang up your phone. You will be notified by a ring when the line is free.
  3. Call Pick-up. To answer an unattended phone within your group lift handset and dial 113.
  4. Call Waiting. When you hear a tone, press FLASH to answer the second caller. Press FLASH again to go back to the original caller.
  5. Last Number Redial. Press the REDIAL button on the phone.

How do I know what features are on my telephone?
All phones have 3-way call, Redial, and Ring Again. For a list of additional features call Telephone Services 5-8002.

How do I report difficulties in reaching a number or report phone problems?
Please report any difficulties to Lea Elskamp at or else call 5-8002 and leave a detailed message.  Only Telephone Services is authorized through CenturyTel.

How do I place an order for telephone service or equipment?
To order a new telephone, to request repair of equipment, and to change or cancel your existing service, send a memo to Lea Elskamp, Telephone Services Manager, Information Center, or e-mail to  Please identify clearly on the form the following information:

  • the type of service or equipment you want.
  • the specific location by building and room number. State whether or not there is a telephone jack in the room.
  • the account number to be charged.
  • the name of a contact person, should questions arise.
  • any other relevant information, i.e. long distance or features.
  • Your request will be scheduled for action upon receipt. Most activities require one-week lead time.

What are the costs for service orders or replacement equipment?
The costs of some standard requests appear below. These charges will be in effect through 06/2010 and are subject to change in the future.

  • New line $87.00 installation $13.00 per month
  • Moves and changes-Most are free through Telephone Services however if CenturyTel is involved a fee may incur but not all the time
  • Install jack or move jack-cost will vary depending on time and materials. Estimate: $75 per hour
  • Telephone cords-15 foot, $2; 25 foot, $3

Telephone instruments are supplied as part of the installation of the new system. The phone is the property and responsibility of the department or unit. Repair or replacement costs of telephones out of warranty will be billed to the department or unit.

  • Replacement telephone sets - single line set $20.00-$75.00, depending on the phone; multiple line set $75.00-$400.00

May I purchase and use my own personal telephone set on the university system?
Telephones must be purchased through University accounts; personal sets brought in from home may not be used on the University System.

There are 2 types of phones used on campus, a Business Set and what’s considered a Single Line phone.  All Business Sets much be purchased through Telephone Services.  However, any Single Line/IBN phone can be purchased at the discretion and expense of the department.  Please hang onto boxes and user guides so in case a phone has to be returned.  Also, it is important to keep the user guide due to the many different kinds of phones available. 

Is there specialty equipment available for use on the system?
Telephone Services will maintain a pool of specialty telephone equipment such as speaker and cellular telephones. The equipment will be available for short-term loan for conferences, seminars, or special projects. There is a $4.00/day rental fee for cellular service.

Is Voice Mail Available?
Voicemail is available through a contract with Century Telephone. The cost is $5.00 installation and $5.70/mo. for Enhanced Service. For questions or to activate, call 5-8002. Departments may also purchase answering machines on their own.

Do I follow these instructions when calling or using a residence hall phone?
Yes, the residence halls are part of the university telephone system.