The State of Wisconsin Building Commission has given final approval to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF) Dairy Pilot Plant renovation project.
This permission follows action last week by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents in authorizing a $1.94 million budget for the project, which will renovate and expand the existing dairy plant in River Falls, the announcement said. State money will be used for construction and renovation of the space, including mechanical and electrical systems.
The project is a joint venture among UWRF, its College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences (CAFES) and the UWRF Foundation.
To date, CAFES and the UWRF Foundation have secured approximately $2.5 million in cash, gifts, pledges and in-kind contributions, including donated equipment for the facility. Private funds are being raised to purchase and install the Dairy Pilot Plant’s new equipment, UWRF said.
“With more than 30 years of continuous use in academic programming, the Dairy Pilot Plant is in need of significant updating and renovation,” CAFES dean Dale Gallenberg said. “This new facility will better accommodate academic programming needs in the college as well as allow us to expand industry outreach and training programs and research in dairy product development and processing.”
The current food pilot plants on campus began operation in 1983.
Bids for the project were opened in March, with Ross & Associates of River Falls chosen as the general prime contractor. Mead & Hunt of Middleton, Wis., was previously chosen as the architect. Lyle Clem of Electrol Specialties Co. is the process design consultant.
The first phase of construction will renovate existing space, while a second phase will install equipment used to process raw milk into cheese and ice cream.
The renovated plant is expected to be ready for use in early 2019.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Reagents also was scheduled to discuss renovation projects on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, including the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant and Center for Dairy Research Addition project and the Meat Science & Muscle Biology Laboratory project.