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'We want to keep Ripon relevant': Ripon College makes progress on $35 million investment

Posted at 5:57 PM, Nov 30, 2023
  • Ripon College is making progress on its multi-million dollar investment into the campus.
  • I spoke with school officials and students about how the upgrades are going.

Ripon College is investing $35 million into two major changes to campus: a new science center and the college’s first football stadium on campus, which opened this fall and the community is already utilizing.
I first told you about these changes about a year ago, and now I’m back on campus to ask school officials and students what they think about the upgrades.

“I'm looking forward to it,” student Brandon Burge said.

It’s students like Burge who Ripon College is trying to target with these upgrades. He’s a freshman studying exercise science. . . and says the new science center was one factor in his decision to attend Ripon College.

“They definitely talked about a lot of my visits or when I was in the process of coming here,” Burge said.

Vice President for Advancement Shawn Karsten said while enrollment at Ripon College has remained steady in recent years, (averaging between 800 and 1,000 students) they’re looking toward the future.

“We want to keep Ripon relevant, right?” Karsten said. “We don't want to be steady and just maintain we want to continue to be a competitive institution.”

The Franzen Science Center, which is currently under construction, includes more than 68,000 square feet of renovation and expansion and updates to lab facilities.

“With all the new labs being built, that will help those kids that want to pursue those fields,” student Aidan Bernt said.

The stadium, which was completed this fall, cost about eight million dollars. But Karsten said they started with a plan to spend five to six million.

“Given the inflationary risk inside the construction market now, those prices started to change quite a bit and we weren't willing to compromise our goals for that facility,” Karsten said.

The stadium can now host football and soccer games on-campus for the first time.

“We love watching the football games on Saturdays and it's, it's pretty fun,” Burge said.

Karsten said the school is also looking to host community events and concerts in the space.

The science center is on track to be completed around this time next year.

We’ve been following this expansion and will continue reporting updates.