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The Powerhouse: next steps, recent updates

July 1, 2013

The project that has captured the campus and community’s imagination has seen a few updates in recent months.

At its April meeting, the college’s board of trustees agreed that the college should proceed with the next steps in planning for the Powerhouse to become an activity and recreation center.

“We also made the case, and the board agreed, that the time was right to grow a deeper understanding of the way our programmatic aspirations and the architectural design will interplay,” says Dean of Students Christina Klawitter.

Throughout the past year, the college has been collaboratively working with Alliant Energy/WPL (the entity who owns the building) the state’s Department of Natural Resources, and legal, environmental, engineering, and architectural consultants, in order to provide the board with all the necessary information about purchasing and developing the building, which sits across Pleasant Street from the college, on the banks of the Rock River.

“Alliant Energy is analyzing how it could navigate a potential transition of the building from a decommissioned power plant filled with lots of big equipment into a space that would accommodate our aspirational program,” Klawitter says. “To do this intelligently means that we need to be much closer to a final schematic design than we are now, and to accomplish that we need the services of an architectural firm.”

To that end, President Bierman has convened a work group tasked with seeking out architectural firms who would be a good fit for the college. The group is chaired by Klawitter and Trustee Jo Froman’69.

The timeline for next steps? The group’s research is already underway, and will soon request proposals from the architectural firms they believe hold the most promise. Firms will likely submit their architectural visions for the Powerhouse in September, “and by early October, we hope to have an announcement to share with you all,” Klawitter says.