Gov. Walker explains why UWL projects were denied funding - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Gov. Walker explains why UWL projects were denied funding

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Governor Walker said his budget proposal makes maintenance of current UW-System buildings and facilities a priority after years of being on the back burner.

As we reported last week, the state's Building Commission denied funding to three UWL requested projects, including a new residence hall, new athletics facility and HVAC system upgrade in Graff Main Hall.

MORE: $5 Million for La Crosse Center, $0 For UWL

The three projects total around $84 million but Walker said during a visit to La Crosse on Monday UWL isn't alone.

"UW campuses across the system were denied certain projects they were hoping for," he said. "We spend the largest portion of our overall system budget on maintenance and we made that a priority this time. We looked at a report from the UW-System and they pointed out how far behind they were on maintenance and this budget allows to make this up."

In years past, Walker said the priority has been on new construction rather than maintenance. Until current buildings are caught up with needed upkeep, he said the state isn't interested in building new.

Despite UWL receiving no state funds for projects through the Building Commission, $5 million to be put toward the La Crosse Center renovations and expansion was approved by the commission.

"Part of the reason why La Crosse's convention center stepped up on the list toward getting approval in our capital budget request is because you've been ahead of the curve here. In the last year and a half, there's been about 450 new beds and four different locations offered as hotels," he said.

Senator Jennifer Shilling said she was hoping for more funding from the state to the tune of $12 million. 

"Originally when the center and the community was looking at this they were hoping for around $12 million, so I think there is some disappointment in that we didn't get as much."

Walker's proposed budget should be finalized in July.

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