News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Phone: 608.822.2303
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: December 14, 2018

Real Estate Foundation breaks ground on new facility

Fennimore -

With a waiting list of more than 50 students wanting student housing, the Southwest Tech Real Estate Foundation Board voted to approve adding 24 new beds in three new buildings in 2019.

After gaining approval from the Fennimore City Council Dec. 10, the REF will step up its work with construction partner Midwest Builders of Fennimore to insure two 8-bed duplex units are completed in time for the fall 2019 academic session.

Pictured (L-R): Holly Clendenen, executive director of the Southwest Tech Real Estate Foundation; Mindy Johnson, REF Board member; Brad Biddick, REF Board member; Chris Prange, REF Board and Southwest Tech District Board member; Jason Wood, Southwest Tech president; Kevin Raisbeck, REF Board member; Dan Imhoff, Southwest Tech director of facilities; and Ryan Rands, Midwest Builders, break ground on a pair of 8-bed duplexes adjacent to Southwest Tech’s campus.

Members of the REF Board, Southwest Tech and Southwest Tech Foundation joined Ryan Rands of Midwest Builders to hold a groundbreaking ceremony on the site, which is adjacent to the college on the east side of campus. “We are honored to work with the Southwest Tech Real Estate Foundation to build this housing facility,” Rands said. “Our work here shows our commitment to the City of Fennimore and to the future of this area and we are excited to complete this needed work.”

In addition to this project, the REF has also commissioned an 8-bed duplex facility that is currently under construction by the Southwest Tech Building Trades-Carpentry program, under the guidance of instructor Jim Broihahn.

The carpentry students have built four other duplexes adjacent to the Southwest Tech campus, but on the south side. Demand has driven the housing expansion as the waiting list suggests. In addition, the REF Board has retired two worn-out properties that have served the housing program well. This commitment to building additional housing works in partnership with the college’s goals of building a more inclusive campus and for fostering student involvement.

“The added benefit to the REF projects, in addition to providing a revenue stream that supports the Southwest Tech Foundation, is that students who live on-campus have proven they perform better in the classroom and have become more involved in campus life,” said REF Executive Director Holly Clendenen. “Our No. 1 goal is for students to have a great educational experience at Southwest Tech, and their success is the reason we do what we do.”

The REF currently has 116 beds under management. With the expansion projects and the razing of other outdated structures, the REF is expecting to own and operate 13 buildings with 140 beds in 2019. If the REF can sustain its operations, plans are underway for additional housing over the next five years. Again, supply and demand will dictate the speed at which new housing beds are added to the inventory.

“We are proud of our partnership with the REF,” Southwest Tech President Jason Wood said. “We work together, yet function separately, to insure that both sides are doing what’s in the best interest of its respective mission. We have a working memorandum of understanding that spells out who is responsible for what and how this relationship is meant to work and flourish. We’ve had some great discussions, we’ve debated our multi-year plans and in the end we are executing on a vision that gives our students great opportunities for success.”

REF Board President Ben Wood agrees. “The college has been great to work with, and we are optimistic about what the future holds for our housing program,” he said. “The REF is cautious, too, so we are carefully moving forward. The housing program at Southwest Tech has been an asset for several decades. Our role is to continue to build and maintain the housing at a level that is a source of pride for Southwest Tech.”


Contact: Dennis Cooley, Public Relations Manager

Phone: (608) 822-2747




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