RIPON — Ripon College recently announced the first stage of its strategic infrastructure plan, with a price tag of $35 million. The plan includes $24.5 million for renovations and expansion to the Farr Hall of Science—with more than 19,000 square feet of construction planned—and a new football stadium.
“We know that in terms of recruiting and retaining top students in Wisconsin, including at Ripon College, we needed to invest,” Ripon College president Vickie Folse said.
In the minds of some students, improvements are badly needed. Cormac Madigan is a science major who played football, and he said the science center and new stadium will be a huge gain for the school.
“The stadium is going to be a much-needed improvement,” Madigan said. “Obviously, we haven't been able to play on campus, which has been a huge loss. And the chemistry labs are the biggest thing that needs improvements. I mean, we were working with machines that needed to be upgraded about 20 years ago.”
Folse said some components of these projects, like improvements to residence halls, came from student input.
“Definitely the residence halls, it's something that I've been bringing up to like my RAs and stuff for the last three years, like getting them updated and stuff,” Annika Huizenga, a junior at Ripon college, said. “I think it'll really bring more people here.”
Currently, Ripon football shares a field with the local high school. The new stadium would give the team its own space.
“I think with the new stadium coming, I think it'll help bring a better atmosphere with fans and again, the student body more involved,” senior football player Kaipo Magsayo said.
Folse said the new science center will allow faculty to create more programs and expand the curriculum.
“We believe that investing in the STEM disciplines, which are, of course, very popular with our students, but also how STEM connects with other disciplines across the liberal arts is something that is uniquely Ripon College,” Folse said.
The college plans to break ground on both projects in the spring of 2023. Folse said they plan to finish the football stadium by the fall of 2023, and the science center by the fall of 2024. She said this is part of a larger strategic initiative to commemorate the school’s 175th anniversary in 2026.
Folse said funds are coming from alumni and college supporters, as well as partnerships with community lenders. The college is still fundraising to reach the $35 million cost, but Folse said she's confident they will reach that number soon.