Gov. Tony Evers Monday urged bipartisan support for his 2021-23 Capital Budget proposal released last month as the state looks to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Evers' biennial capital budget, which includes major projects in 31 of Wisconsin's 72 counties, represents one of the strongest investments to date in Wisconsin’s state facility infrastructure and economic recovery, including a $2.38 billion investment that would provide an approximately 29,000 family-supporting jobs and an estimated overall $4.3 billion economic impact. This week, the State Building Commission (SBC) is set to take up the governor's capital budget proposal, which includes major projects in both Republican and Democratic legislative districts.
“We know that folks in red and blue districts alike from across our state will feel the economic impact of this capital budget, and these are just the sort of strategic investments we need to make sure our economy can recover and bounce back from this pandemic,” said Gov. Evers. “Our proposal not only invests in our students at our UW campuses, our veterans at our veterans homes across the state, and our public lands and more renewable projects, but it invests in the future we want to build for our state. As our state faces urgent challenges due to COVID-19, it's never been more important for our capital budget investments to receive bipartisan support.”
The SBC will meet over the next three days to review and vote on the governor’s capital budget recommendations. The SBC is required to submit its capital budget recommendations to the Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance by the first Tuesday in April. Once the Joint Finance Committee receives the recommendations, the capital budget becomes part of larger deliberations with the state’s 2021-23 biennial operating budget.
The governor's call today comes after the 2019-21 SBC process resulted in failing to develop a State Building Program for possibly the first time in state history and as Republicans in the Legislature have signaled the 2021-23 Capital Budget might meet a similar fate. During the 2019-21 biennium, the SBC reviewed state agency requests and the governor's 2019-21 Capital Budget recommendations, and in a disappointing and unprecedented turn of events, failed to provide recommendations for any of the 82 items submitted on the agenda. This was the first time in SBC records the Commission did not collaborate to develop a State Building Program. The Administrative Affairs Subcommittee and Higher Education Subcommittee unanimously approved their subcommittee items, but the full Commission did not adopt these recommendations at the meeting held on March 20, 2019, as each agenda item motion failed along a party-line vote.
Highlights of Gov. Evers' capital budget projects the SBC will take up this week include:
Sen. Joan Ballweg, Senate District 14, and Rep. Kevin Peterson, Assembly District 40
$15.2 million to modernize the kitchen facilities at the Union Grove and King Veterans homes. Through this investment residents at Union Grove will now receive freshly prepared meals daily rather than utilizing a process of preparing and transferring frozen meals from King to Union Grove.
$7.5 million to modernize the water infrastructure and critical mechanical systems that keep the King Home operational and safe for Wisconsin’s veterans.
$2.2 million to modernize the toilet and shower facilities at the Hartman Creek Campground. This is one of five toilet and shower modernization projects planned across the State.
Sen. Dan Feyen, Senate District 18, Reps. Michael Schraa, Assembly District 53, Jeremy Thiesfeldt, Assembly District 52, and Gordon Hintz, Assembly District 54
$26.9 million to renovate Clow Hall on the UW-Oshkosh campus housing the College of Education and Human Services. This project includes mechanical upgrades to the facility, improvements to the fire system to address code deficiencies, and renovations to the classroom spaces in the building.
$18.5 million to build a Health Services Unit at the Dodge County correctional facility. These units will allow DOC to better address the needs of an aging inmate population, many of whom have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses. This is one of five projects to expand and construct new Health Services Units at the State’s correctional institutions.
Sen. Patrick Testin, Senate District 24 and Rep. Katrina Shankland, Assembly District 71
$96.0 million to replace Albertson Hall on the Stevens Point campus replacing a building that was initially constructed in 1970. The new facility will eliminate space inefficiencies while also adding a Learning Commons, Student Success Center, and Center for Inclusive Learning space.
Sen. Kathy Bernier, Senate District 23, and Reps. Rob Summerfield, Assembly District 67, and Jesse James, Assembly District 68
$3.4 million to modernize the toilet and shower facilities at the Lake Wissota Campground. This is one of five toilet and shower modernization projects planned across the State.
$18.5 million to build a Health Services Unit at the Stanley Correctional Institution. This Unit will allow DOC to better address the needs of an aging inmate population, many of whom have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses. This is one of five projects to expand and construct new Health Services Units at the State’s correctional institutions.
Sen. Rob Stafsholt, Senate District 10, and Reps. Gae Magnafici, Assembly District 28, and Shannon Zimmerman, Assembly District 30
$116.7 million for a new Science and Technology Center on the UW-River Falls campus to house STEM and innovation programs. The new facility will replace Hagestad Hall that was constructed in 1959 and vacated during the 2019/20 academic year.
$3.3 million to construct a consolidated facility for Fire Equipment Maintenance at the Grantsburg Ranger Station. This new facility will allow fire equipment to be repaired on-site eliminating the need for shuffling equipment for long-distance to ensure this costly equipment is being properly maintained.
Sen. Devin LeMahieu, Senate District 9, and Rep. Paul Tittl, Assembly District 25
$1.6 million to construct a new DNR Field Station at the Collins Marsh Wildlife Area located in Manitowoc County. The new facility will allow DNR staff to be located closer to the three State Wildlife Areas they are responsible for managing and increase access to DNR staff for area residents and landowners.
Sen. Janet Bewley, Senate District 25 and Reps. Beth Meyers, Assembly District 74
$3.5 million to replace the Fire Response Ranger station that serves the Park Falls Dispatch Group in northwestern Wisconsin, including Madeline Island. The new facility will replace an existing facility that was built in 1932 and currently lacks the facility to store all fire equipment in a heated storage area.
Sen. Andre Jacque, Senate District 1, and Rep. Joel Kitchens, Assembly District 1
$2.0 million to modernize the toilet and shower facilities at the Peninsula State Park Campground. This is one of five toilet and shower modernization projects planned across the State.
$1.4 million to make improvements at the historic Rock Island Boat House.
$2.5 million to replace the 38-year-old Visitor’s entrance at Potawatomi State Park.
Sen. Robert Cowles, Senate District 2, and Rep. David Steffen, Assembly District 4
$12.5 million to build a Health Services Unit at the Green Bay Correctional Institution. This Unit will allow DOC to better address the needs of an aging inmate population, many of whom have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses. This is one of five projects to expand and construct new Health Services Units at the State’s correctional institutions.
Sen. Eric Wimberger, Senate District 30, and Rep. John Macco, Assembly District 88
$96.3 million to construct the new Cofrin Technology and Education Center on the UW-Green Bay campus. This new facility will replace the existing high-rise library with a low-rise building that will provide service at the main entry point for the campus.
$2.5 million to construct equipment storage for the National Guard at the Readiness Center in Marinette. Federal funding is supporting 72% of the project cost. Providing the 28% State matching funds will support the mission of the infantry battalion housed in Marinette.
Sen. Chris Kapenga, Senate District 33, and Rep. Scott Allen, Assembly District 87
$1.9 million to construct a CWD Operations Facility at the Vernon Wildlife Area providing faster CWD sample processing time for deer hunters.
Sen. Steve Nass, Senate District 11, and Reps. Tyler August, Assembly District 32, and Cody Horlacher, Assembly District 33
$25.0 million to construct a new dormitory for serving the Wisconsin Education Services Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The new facility, located in Delavan, will feature apartment-style space for residents and classroom and office space for teaching and outreach. The new facility will address life safety issues with the current building while also making critical ADA improvements.
$1.5 million to construct a Field Operations Center for fisheries and wildlife management programs at the Richard Bong Recreational Area. The new facility will house fisheries and wildlife programs serving Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties. The facility will also increase capacity for onsite CWD sampling, reducing turnaround time for deer hunters in the area.
Sen. Marklein, Senate District 17, and Reps. Travis Tranel, Assembly District 49, and Tony Kurtz, Assembly District 50
$14.3 million for the second phase of improvements at the Old World Wisconsin-Immersive Welcome Experience. These improvements will include relocating and restoring Wittnebel’s Tavern telling guests the stories of rural Wisconsin tavern life following prohibition. This project will also include upgrading the water infrastructure at Old World Wisconsin to meet current and future demands of the buildings at this site. (Senate District-17; Assembly District-50)
$12.6 million to remodel the Skilled Care Unit at the Sand Ridge Treatment Center. These renovations are intended to accommodate an aging resident population with increased mobility and medical needs.
$7.7 million to build a Health Services Unit at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility. This Unit will allow DOC to better address the needs of an aging inmate population, many of whom have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses. This is one of five projects to expand and construct new Health Services Units at the State’s correctional institutions.
Sen. Jeff Smith, Senate District 31 and Reps. Treig Pronschinske, Assembly District 92
$4.4 million to build a Health Services Unit at the Jackson Correctional Institute. These facilities will allow DOC to better address the needs of an aging inmate population, many of whom have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses. This is one of five projects to expand and construct new Health Services Units at the State’s correctional institutions.
Sen. Brad Pfaff, Senate District 32 and Rep. Jill Billings, Assembly District 95
$92.7 million to construct the Prairie Springs Science Center on the University’s La Cross campus. The new facility will house the classroom and lab space for the campus’s science disciplines. This project is the second in a phased replacement of a facility constructed in 1963. Majors served by the new facility represent 32% of the La Crosse campus.
Sen. Janice Ringhand, Senate District 15, and Rep. Don Vruwink, Assembly District 43
$59.4 million to renovate Winter Hall and portions of Heide Hall on the University’s Whitewater campus. The renovations will upgrade these facilities that were constructed in the late 1960s. This facility houses the campus’s College of Education and Professional Services, Psychology, and Race and Ethnic Studies.
The complete 2021-2023 Capital Budget agency requests and governor’s recommendations can be found here. The SBC is chaired by Gov. Evers and made up of the following members:
Sen. Janis Ringhand
Sen. Jerry Petrowski
Sen. Andre Jacque
Rep. Jill Billings
Rep. Rob Swearingen
Rep. Robert Wittke
Summer Strand, citizen member