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The Powerhouse Project

Your gift to the Powerhouse fundamentally changes Beloit College's place in higher education. 

The Powerhouse is a $38 million plan to repurpose the decommissioned Blackhawk Generating Station on the Rock River into a 130,000-square-foot student union and recreation center. The project will be a showcase of sustainable design, provide much-needed gathering space for students, and will contribute to the revitalization of the downtown Beloit riverfront.

The Powerhouse will promote the college’s reputation and provide economic and programmatic benefits for generations of Beloit College students. It will be a uniquely 21st century student union and recreation center space housed in an important historic building tying the city of Beloit and the college of Beloit with the Rock River. 

The Powerhouse project provides vastly more bang for the philanthropic buck than any other project. Period. There is no second place.

Click here to download Powerhouse site plans.

To learn more about this opportunity, contact Katie Biscoe, Director of Major Gifts & Capital Support, at 608-363-2529 or

Key spaces:

  • Collaborative meeting rooms, seminar rooms, work tables, informal gathering spaces, nooks, hang-out space
  • Indoor running/walking track
  • Signature lecture hall/theater for presentations/films/receptions
  • Recreation/competitive natatorium
  • Café
  • Fieldhouse with artificial turf floor
  • Conference center
  • Multiple fitness spaces with different atmospheres
  • Outdoor decks over the Rock River
  • Health Center
  • Riverwalk


November 5, 2014, we shared the latest project plans. Watch the livestream again, here.

April 2014:
At its April meeting, Beloit’s board of trustees unanimously approved a Definitive Purchase Agreement that outlines terms for the college to purchase the nearby Blackhawk Generating Station from Alliant Energy/WPL.

This formal agreement sets the terms for the building’s sale and transfer, should the college successfully raise the money needed to turn the building into a campus activity and recreation center. Approval on the college’s end signals the board’s continued interest in the Powerhouse project, and Alliant and Beloit College’s shared commitment to moving forward on plans.

Want to learn more about the history of the Powerhouse? Check out the article from the spring 2014 magazine here.

October 2013: Studio Gang is selected as the architect to convert the power plant into the activity and recreation center.
(Press photos are available here.)

The college’s trustees approved the selection at the October Board Meeting after a series of updates regarding the college’s ongoing partnership with Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin utility, which has been working with college officials for more than a year to explore a possible sale of the Blackhawk Generating Station in Beloit. Alliant Energy officials and the college recently outlined a three-year window aimed at aligning and connecting their efforts so that the college and Alliant Energy would formalize a transition of the property in 2016, should all go well.

“We’re picking up speed,” said President Scott Bierman. “Alliant Energy and the college have spent more than a year together investigating this opportunity and its challenges. We have a shared belief in, and enthusiasm for, this project and we’re ready to accelerate and further align our efforts.” Read more...

At the April 2013 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.

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.

The Powerhouse is moving forward in a process true to Beloit. Every stage has been approached as a learning opportunity—a liberal arts in practice experience—and four classes have explored different parts of the project thus far.

In July 2013, a work group was tasked with seeking an architectural firm that is a good fit for the college and can realize our programmatic aspirations. Much of that work will continue through the fall, and if all goes according to plan, we're hoping for an October announcement of the firm.

Wisconsin’s oldest college, founded at the confluence of the Rock River and the Turtle Creek watershed in 1846, has the opportunity to finally reach –and make full use of– the water through its planned reuse of Wisconsin Power and Lights’s decommissioned Blackhawk Generating Station. The facility, which sits on the riverside adjacent to the Beloit College campus, is being re-imagined by the college as a new activity and recreation center for the college.

We believe the project will dramatically enhance Beloit’s residential experience, complete a 25-year redevelopment of the city’s riverside, and become a model for sustainable and cost-conscious renewal. Already, a semester-long programming study has yielded a list of 10 pressing space needs for the college – from a 150-seat public auditorium to a competition-grade swimming pool – that could be distinctively accommodated within the facility. And all this is possible at a cost that is equal to, if not less than, what would be required to design and build an equivalent on existing college property. For these reasons and others, the college has committed to pursuing this opportunity as a purely donor-funded project—yet another distinctive detail.

Make a gift to support the costs associated with assessing the feasibility of the activity and recreation center and enable us to continue to pursue this exciting possibility.