Courtesy of Studio Gang
At its meeting in late April, the board of trustees unanimously approved a definitive purchase agreement that outlines terms for the college to purchase the Blackhawk Generating Station from Alliant Energy/WPL. The move formalizes the college’s agreement with Alliant Energy/WPL and sets the terms for the sale and transfer, should the college successfully raise the money to turn the building into a college activity and recreation center.
“This is two-and-a half years in the making,” said Dean of Students Christina Klawitter’98 at a May 5 campus presentation with project architects from Studio Gang. At that event, architect Jeanne Gang revealed preliminary plans for the project through an architectural model and artistic renderings of potential features of the renovation.
“Our goal from the beginning has been to try to maintain the beautiful and heroic scale of this building,” Gang said.
Studio Gang used a laser scanner to map out the locations of steel in the building, most of which is readily usable, Gang explained, and an ecologist on her team revealed the results of a study that looks at how the Powerhouse relates to the river, watershed, and local flora and fauna. As she spoke to the crowd assembled in Pearsons Hall, Gang walked through potential renovations to the interior and exterior, level by level. Notable features include open social spaces (like a student union-type area in the former turbine room, shown at right) intermingled with athletic spaces, including a 190-meter running track that passes through an open area above the pool.
Gang emphasized that the plans are still subject to revision; next steps include the college forming a building committee.