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  • Writer's pictureBeth & Tim Manners

Beloit Opens 'Powerhouse' Student Center

Wisconsin State Journal: "There’s a swimming pool, fitness center, 160-seat auditorium, study areas, a cafe and fourth-floor event space for 200 people. An elevated indoor track for walking and running rims the facility while a 17,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed field house with artificial turf is scheduled to open in May. Students centers aren’t supposed to look like this. Neither are decommissioned power plants. But a $38 million collaborative project by Beloit College has used donations from alumni and the community, a gift from Alliant Energy and the inspiration and design work from a world renowned architectural firm to save a piece of this city’s history and create a one-of-a-kind amenity for the school and its 1,100 students."

"Many power plants that have ceased operations end up being razed to make way for public green space. And that was the plan for the former Wisconsin Power & Light steam-powered, coal-fired power plant that since the early 1900s has been a fixture at the bottom of the hill just below the college. The powerhouse stopped generating electricity in 2005 and the facility was shuttered by Alliant in 2010."

"The powerhouse project adds to the continued renaissance of the city but also fills a need for the college that was founded in 1846, two years before Wisconsin achieved statehood. The school has not had a dedicated student union and its field house, home to an indoor track and some fitness equipment, is in a World War II-era airplane hangar but will be demolished after the new field house opens. The Sportscenter, home to the school’s basketball and volleyball facility, will remain."

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