Originally an extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the UW-Waukesha gained a new identity in 1972 when all such satellites around the state became the UW Centers, a separate institution within the UW System. In July 1997, the Board of Regents approved a new name: University of Wisconsin Colleges. Now numbering thirteen, the UW Colleges offer freshman and sophomore courses and an associate degree.
Like the other Colleges' campuses, UW-Waukesha's land and buildings belong to a local government unit, in this case Waukesha County, which purchased the 86-acre campus from William J. Hughes and his wife, Blanche I. Fischer Hughes, in March 1965.
Assuming its share of responsibility, the University of Wisconsin provides faculty, staff, educational programs, technology, furnishings, libraries, and supplies. The first classes met in fall 1966 at Mt. St. Paul Seminary, because the new buildings were not ready for occupancy. In December, however, the campus opened in its current location, beginning with just Northview Hall, the Field House, and the Commons. Southview Hall opened in February 1969, and both the Administration Building and an extension to Northview Hall, more than doubling the size of the library, were added in 1978. The Fine Arts Center, with its 337-seat Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, came in 1987. In 1992, a computer center, and a new entryway to Northview Hall added 5,000 square feet to the campus.
In celebration of the campus’ 30th anniversary, the Student Commons was completely remodeled and Westview Hall was added Dedicated on September 8, 1996, the $5.7 million project added 20,000 square feet to the Commons and renovated an existing 29,000 square feet. Along with expanded space for the student lounge, student activities, student services and study center offices, a beautiful dining area and re-located bookstore (open to the public) were added.
In 2001 a new gym floor was installed in the Field House, and the building was remodeled and expanded to include 3 classrooms and a fitness center, adding 9,885 square feet.
To preserve a natural environment for educational use, Miss Gertrude Sherman donated a 92-acre Field Station, located approximately 10 miles west of the main campus, to the university in 1967. The former farm land is being restored to native prairie and woods, and it harbors the UW System’s only large wood-fired kiln and as well as a smaller one. In 2001 a 3,000-square-foot classroom building was constructed on the site. The Gertrude Sherman Building includes one general classroom and one devoted to art. Additionally, the Wildlife in Need Center will have its headquarters on the Field Station site by 2011.
About 2,000 students attend each fall and spring semester and another 1,000 take summer classes. Many community residents are involved in the campus non-credit classes offered through Continuing Education.
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