The north and the south entrances to the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Superior could look a lot different in the next few years.  Officials with the university have shared their plans for two seperate redevelopment projects - one at the north end of campus near Belknap Street and one at the south end of campus near Catlin Avenue and North 28th Street.

Both of the projects are being billed as a win-win for both the university and the general community at large.

Plans for the projects include hybrid developments that aren't strictly educational, but serve a purpose for non-students as well.  According to details released by the University:

"The goals of the project include adding to the UW-Superior experience by increasing student access to rewarding academic, athletic, and recreation facilities.  The plan will also help meet regional needs of the Superior community; breathing new life into the expanding University District of Belknap Street, which already serves as a main thoroughfare in the city.  The hopes are that this will aid tourism, recreational facility options for youth, housing demands, along with potential hotel and retail needs to create a community and campus asset that serves all for generations."

Looking at each of the two project areas, university leadership has different ideas for each plot of land:

Belknap Street and Catlin Avenue (North End):  The area being targeted for redevelopment is approximately 8-acres in size.  The unused Ole Haugsrud Field is located on site.  UWS officials seek to redevelop or re-use that field, potentially including an indoor turf field.  They're also seeking ways to incorporate retail, housing, and perhaps a hotel.  The main goal is to find a way to blend the universities needs (both educational and aesthetic) and also become a vital part of the commercial corridor that already exists along Belknap Street.

North 28th Street and Catlin Avenue (South End)/Wessman Arena:  The area located here is larger - approximately 15-acres.  Wessman Arena currently sits here.  Planning includes maintaining that facility, but perhaps expanding it or adding to it.  The university is also seeking ways to potentially add an outdoor competition field there. One of the positives of this site is that it is located directly across the street from Superior High School.  Any development here would take the potential for collaboration.

That collaboration is key, according to Jenice Meyer, Senior Strategic Partnerships Officer and Director of The Link Center at UW-Superior:

"Conversations and commitments to explore the expansion of Wessman Arena have been underway with leadership from UW-Superior, the Superior School District, City of Superior, and Superior Amateur Hockey Association.  A collective vision to have an expanded hockey arena in one location would be a game changer for our community.  If an expanded arena comes to fruition, it would meet the current and future needs of youth, high school, collegiate, and recreation hockey, as well as hosting tournaments, generating additional tourism to the area."

The redevelopments would mark a concerted effort for progress that's been on display for the last twenty years or so.  The University of Wisconsin-Superior was first opened in 1893.  Since that time the campus has seen many significant changes.  Looking at the modern era (approximately since the mid-1960's), the following changes have been made:

  • 1968:  Jim Dan Hill Library was built
  • 1970's:  Holden Fine Art Center was built and the south-campus area was purchased, where the Siinto S. Wessman Arena was constructed, along with Hawkes and Ross Residence Halls
  • 2003: The Toby Marcovich Wellness Center was built
  • 2009:  A remodel project on the Jim Dan Hill Library was completed
  • 2011:  Swenson Hall was completed
  • 2013:  A link between Hawkes and Ross Residence Halls was built

While no specific timeline is ready for the two new planned redevelopments, the steps towards the work are already being taken.  Officials from UW-Superior eye the 2024-2025 academic year for the groundbreaking of the work.

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