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UWGB’s Cofrin Library project one step closer to reality, full legislature approval still needed

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 3:58 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - More than $96 million in funding to replace the Cofrin Library on the University of Wisconsin - Green bay campus with a new Cofrin Research Center has been approved by the state’s Joint Finance Committee.

UWGB officials say this is the school’s first major academic capital project to get to this point in more than 20 years.

“It means a lot to us. First of all, I think it’s a great signal from the state that the University is headed in a positive direction. We have tremendous momentum with enrollment growth and all the amazing things happening on our campus right now,” said Chancellor, Michael Alexander.

“I couldn’t be more excited, UW-Green Bay was historically on the bottom of the list as far as capital projects are concerned,” said Rep. John Macco, (R-Ledgeview).

Earlier this year, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers toured the David A. Cofrin Library, which was built in 1972.

As Action 2 News previously reported, according to the budget proposal a feasibility study done in 2020 found renovation wouldn’t be cost effective.

The new building would be four-to-five stories and include a “new technology hub,” including Cofrin Library programs.

In addition, school officials say the committee also approved the following funds on Tuesday:

  • $3,268,000 for the Studio Arts Visual Arts Laboratory renovation
  • $2,349,000 for the Mary Ann Cofrin Hall/Wood Hall Health Care Skills and Simulation Laboratory Renovation
  • $356,800 in Tribal Gaming funds to be used for First Nations Programming and Summer camps

“The other one that was really important to us was the nursing space. We have an incredibly fast growing program in nursing and this is a way for us to really make sure we’re getting outstanding education to those nursing students,” said Alexander.

Although the committee approved the funds, the full legislature still needs to give its approval before it goes to Evers’ desk for the final say.

The UWGB projects approved by the finance committee are a part of a total $629 million in projects throughout the University of Wisconsin System, which is down from the $1 billion that Evers wanted for UW System projects.

RELATED: Republicans cut state building projects by $810 million

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