MADISON -- Officials at St. Paul’s University Catholic Center today announced March 21 that they are considering a revised plan to significantly reduce the size and scope of their proposed project aimed at replacing the aging and outdated facility currently on the State St. Mall near the foot of Bascom Hill across from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Library.
The project was originally proposed last October as a 14-story building. Fr. Eric Nielsen, director of St. Paul’s University Catholic Center, said the revised plan under consideration will be shorter than the UW Library, no longer include student housing, and focus its reduced square footage on responding to the need for more student programs.
The revised plan calls for a building that includes a new church, a student center, meeting rooms, a library, dining facilities, offices, and a limited number of apartments/sleeping quarters for visiting scholars, ordained priests, and men preparing for the priesthood.
The elimination of the student housing component will reduce the height of the new St. Paul’s to less than the nearby UW Memorial Library.
The estimated cost of the revised plan is about $25 million, nearly half the cost of the original $45 million proposal.
“We continue to believe there is significant value in establishing a residential college facility as we initially proposed, and while that is our preference, the feedback we have received from neighbors, including the UW-Madison and members of both the Catholic community and the Madison community, has led us to consider this alternate approach,” Father Nielsen said.
Father Nielsen added that architectural drawings and tentative floor plans are being developed, and he pledged to share them with both the Catholic community and the Madison community as soon as they were completed.
“This is still an exciting project because it focuses on the students and their programs and includes a new chapel. An increased number of students and others have been coming to St. Paul’s Student Center in recent years, and our program offerings must grow to meet the expanding needs coming from the students,” Father Nielsen added. “To do that, we must replace our aging and outdated facility.”
Father Nielsen said St. Paul’s officials will begin meeting and talking with neighbors, other members of the downtown community, and various other stakeholder groups and individuals interested in the project, particularly within the Madison Catholic community.
“We learned a lot from our first proposal, and we’re going to apply it to the alternative we are developing. We look forward to working in partnership with the community and city leaders so we can better serve the students at UW-Madison,” Father Nielsen said.
Father Nielsen added that representatives from St. Paul’s were scheduled to meet with the Joint Southeast Campus Area Committee on Monday, March 21, to begin initial discussions regarding the alternative approach. The committee is a joint effort made up of representatives of the City of Madison and the University.