The Board of Trustees of Beloit College has selected Studio Gang Architects to lead its efforts to convert a century-old power plant into an activity and recreation centre.
The college’s trustees approved the selection on Saturday after a series of updates regarding the college’s ongoing partnership with Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin utility, which has been working with college officials for more than a year to explore a possible sale of the Blackhawk Generating Station in Beloit.
Alliant Energy officials and the college recently outlined a three-year window aimed at aligning and connecting their efforts so that the college and Alliant Energy would formalise a transition of the property in 2016, should all go well.
“We're picking up speed,” said College President Scott Bierman. “Alliant Energy and the college have spent more than a year together investigating this opportunity and its challenges. We have a shared belief in, and enthusiasm for, this project and we’re ready to accelerate and further align our efforts.”
“This project should be a model for connecting college to community, campus to river, and our city’s past to its future while honouring the role Alliant Energy and its employees played in powering our state’s growth over a century,” Bierman said. “This is a vision Studio Gang is already helping shape and make possible. We are thrilled to see what they can teach us, discover, and do for the college and our region.”
Beloit College has already completed an initial, campus-wide programming study that informed and enlarged its initial plans for the facility. The college believes the powerhouse project will dramatically enhance Beloit’s residential experience, complete a 25-year redevelopment of the city’s riverside, and become a model for sustainable and cost-conscious renewal.
A semester-long programming study for the building (completed in spring 2012) yielded a list of 10 pressing space needs for the college - from a 150-seat public auditorium to a competition-grade swimming pool.