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Evers tours aging Cofrin Library in push for $96.3 million tech center

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 2:08 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is touring the David A. Cofrin Library at UW-Green Bay as his administration recommends funding a new technology center to replace the decades-old building.

A $96.3 million Cofrin Technology and Education Center was one of several building projects recommended to the State Building Commission as part of the governor’s 2021-2023 Capital Budget. Republicans on the commission rejected the governor’s budget and sent it to the Joint Finance Committee where the Cofrin project could find support and live on.

The library, built in 1972, would be demolished in favor of the tech center. A feasibility study completed in 2020 found renovation would not be cost effective, according to the budget proposal. Part of the building is described as being in “unstable condition.”

“The vast majority of the exterior envelope has failed, requiring the removal and replacement of more than 75 percent of the face brick to resolve its condition,” reads the proposal.

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

The budget recommendation reads:

“This project will transform the entire campus layout and main entry point, implemented from the original 1968 master plan, by replacing and demolishing the original high-rise library learning center and navigational focal point with a new 179,600 GSF low-rise, multi-use academic, technology center, and administrative facility that will be relocated just slightly off its previous axis and center of campus.”

The governor’s recommendation states no additional annual funding would be required for the project.

Again, the budget plan is now with the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. The committee holds public hearings on the budget and is allowed to make changes. The committee could decide to keep the Cofrin project in the final budget.

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