University of Wisconsin-Rock County is considering building a residence hall, but the idea isn’t sitting well with neighbors.
The two-story building is scheduled to be built before the fall semester starts next year. But to make the $5 to $6 million project a reality, the school would need some land from the county.
The Rock County Board is meeting Thursday night to discuss the plan.
Nick Deckard and his neighbors got an early start Thursday morning passing out petitions against the proposed dorm.
“Mine’s the third one down and it will be right in my backyard,” Deckard said.
Deckard and his neighbors are trying to stop the 120-bed facility that is scheduled to be built 25 feet from the property line.
“I’m fine with the idea of a dorm. I just think the proximity to residential homes isn’t the wisest idea,” Deckard said.
Laurie Farris and her husband have spent the last 18 years transforming their backyard into a sanctuary, complete with a pond. Farris is concerned about an increase in traffic and noise.
“Property value will probably go down 20 percent. So we’re in a bad bind here. I hope they rethink what they’re planning on doing,” Farris said.
UW-Rock County Dean Carmen Wilson said moving the dorm closer to the existing campus could be a challenge because the land is owned by Rock County.
“It was clear 25 feet is just too close,” Wilson said. “The county would be understandably reluctant to deed an island out of the middle of their property to a private entity. It’s much better to have that deed land on the border so it doesn’t just take a chunk out of the middle.”
Wilson said the administrators are taking steps to address the neighbors’ concerns.
“Our foundation committee is discussing ways to address those concerns and how might we move the residence hall further away and is it possible to include extra parking,” Wilson said. “I’m confident they will be able to find a way to address and eliminate those concerns.”
Neighbors on Garden Drive vow to keep pushing until their voices are heard.
“You have to ask yourself, would you want that in your backyard?” Farris said.
Wilson said if the county board deeds the land to the school at the meeting tonight, then it can take plans to the Board of Regents early next month.