The Universty of Wisconsin Board of Regents is set to reaffirm its support for Eau Claire's proposed Confluence Project this week, but will not include the project as part of the next UW capital budget.
Instead, the state will explore helping to fund the project through a non-state agency grant, an option mentioned by Governor Scott Walker when he voiced his support for the project back in June. The governor said at that time that the 25 million dollars in state funding project supporters are asking for might not be an option in the UW budget at this time, given other building needs that have been delayed. One of those delayed projects is a new residence hall planned for UW Eau Claire. A resolution on the Board of Regents' agenda for Thursday would reaffirm the board's support for the shared university and community arts facility, and direct the UW President to work with the Department of Administration to implement the project. UWEC Assistant Chancellor Mike Rindo says details need to be worked out under the new plan, and UW Eau Claire would still use part of the building, but no part of the building would actually be owned by the state.
Rindo says the takeaway of the announcement is that the Board of Regents still supports the Confluence Project, if they approve the resolution, and there is a way forward to seek state funding.
"It's not the whether, it's the how," Rindo said today.
The grant would have to be included in the governor's 2015-2017 budget and approved by the state legislature. Rindo says the change in approach also means that 5 guiding principles for the project set forth by the Board of Regents in 2012 are no longer in effect, though new requirements could be established.