Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Voters support Confluence Project

Results from Tuesday’s referendum votes related to the Confluence Project have endorsed the university’s participation as a partner in the project.
We are grateful for the overwhelming support of voters in Eau Claire County and the city of Eau Claire. The results demonstrate our fellow citizens agree the Confluence Project represents a new way of government institutions and private enterprise working together to create something that no single entity could create alone: a first-class arts center that will greatly benefit the community and the university alike.
But it is also important to note that much work lies ahead if this project is to become reality. Typically, a referendum vote is the final word on an issue. That clearly is not the case here.
The referendum results enable the process with our multiple partners to proceed. Next steps include successfully reaching a development agreement with the city; satisfying criteria set forth by the City Council, County Board and UW System Board of Regents for funding commitments; securing support from the Board of Regents, the governor’s office and state legislature; and receiving the millions of dollars in philanthropy needed for construction of the arts center.
Of course, as was the case with the new W.R. Davies Student Center and Centennial Hall, should the arts center receive all necessary funding, we would then undertake the considerable tasks of design and construction.
Since I arrived as chancellor, I have consistently said that I intend to integrate UW-Eau Claire more fully and meaningfully into the community. I am committed to being a strong partner and hope the Confluence Project is one of many productive partnerships to come.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the engagement of our Student Senate in the Confluence Project referendum process. The Student Senate played a critical role informing the student body about the project, including enabling supporters and opponents alike to present their views, registering fellow students to vote, and encouraging them to cast their ballots on election day. I could not be more proud of the way our student leaders conducted themselves. They made us all proud to be Blugolds!