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USDA Celebrates Lakeland University Groundbreaking

Jessica Mancel
Release Date
Oct 15, 2020

PLYMOUTH, Wis., Oct., 15, 2020 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wisconsin Rural Development State Director Frank Frassetto joined representatives of Lakeland University, Bank First, Bemis Manufacturing Co, McMahon Associates, Inc. and Quarles & Brady at a groundbreaking today to celebrate the start of construction on two residence halls.

“We are excited to partner with Bank First and Lakeland University in the expansion of their main campus,” Frassetto said. “This investment will help Lakeland set the bar for higher education by providing state of the art student education facilities that will support a robust pipeline of talent for local businesses and communities to enhance economic prosperity and quality of life in rural east central Wisconsin.”

In Sheboygan County, Wis., Lakeland University will use a $29 million direct loan through USDA and a $6 million USDA guaranteed loan through Bank First to construct two new residence halls. The University is open to the public and the dormitories are used for public camps and educational housing when school is not in session. The new residence halls will accommodate 400 beds consisting of double and single units. Forty-eight units will be designed to accommodate triple occupancy when the University's enrollment growth reaches anticipated targets. The proposed dorms will replace five different dorms constructed in the 1950's-60's that have significant deficiencies, were determined to be more costly to renovate per bed and did not address future needs of the University. Each hall will provide resident support functions including front desk area, vending, lounge spaces, kitchenettes, study rooms, gender-neutral bathrooms, laundry facilities, recycling centers, bottle filling station and more. Each building will also have a basement to provide resident storage space and unfinished square footage for the ability to build out additional resident program space in the future.

The residence hall project’s timing and this investment is significant as Lakeland has enjoyed record freshman classes on its main campus the last two falls thanks largely to its innovative Cooperative Education program. Lakeland’s Co-op program, which was introduced in 2018, offers students in all academic programs the ability to work full- and part-time jobs at partner companies and organizations, and also provides students with a way to reduce or eliminate post-graduation tuition debt. Lakeland is also taking steps to work with partners to develop land on its rurally located main campus into a business park, which will further support regional employers and the institution’s Co-op program.

USDA is funding this project through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. Investments can be used to build or upgrade schools, libraries, clinics and public safety facilities. More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/wi, call us at 715-345-7600 or email wi-rd-stateoffice@usda.gov.

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