It has been a delight to watch the completion of a new bicycle/walking trail and the repaving of College Drive on the campus these last two weeks. I compliment the Jim Anderson and his crew from the City of Rice Lake and Mark Servi and his crew from Barron County for their work in making these two related projects come to fruition. If you have driven on College Drive past the two campuses in the last number of years, you know that the repaving needed to happen. When a road is redone in Rice Lake, the city requires a sidewalk on one side, so the city and county worked out a way to have the trail installed instead of the sidewalk. This was a little less costly, but it also adds an excellent new recreational opportunity to the campus and provides a much needed paved walkway from the student apartments on the corner of College Drive and South Street to WITC and UW-BC. When the City completes its plans to extend the CedarSide Trail to the north and connect it to the other side of the river by a footbridge, the final link between the campus and the Rice Lake residential community will be forged.
The new bike and walking trail and the planned enhancements along the Red Cedar complement the growing outdoor recreation opportunities already on campus: the CedarSide Trail, the 18-hole Disc Golf Course, 3-hole Driving Range, the Rice Lake Baseball Association and City Recreation Department’s baseball fields, and the Rice Lake Nordic Association Cross-Country Ski Trails. All of these represent cooperation between our campus and elements of the community. They have made these significant enhancements possible because of the cooperative efforts between county and city government officials, volunteers from civic organization, and staff from the university.
Added to this is the active collaboration among WITC, the school district, and the campus through sharing of facilities and co-enrollments of students. The student apartments in Glenwood Commons are the result of collaboration between WITC, UW-BC, their respective foundations and the WestCap Organization. Our Fine Arts Center is the home of an array of musical groups beyond to the music and theatre programs we offer ourselves. These groups include the Red Cedar Orchestra, the Deans List Big Band, the Northwinds British Brass Band, and the Rice Lake City Band. We are also pleased to provide meeting space to the Ice Age Trail Association, the Rice Lake International Friendship Association, and Barron County Restorative Justice Programs. A newly formed veterans’ support group has also begun meeting on the campus.
We at the campus see these collaborations as critical parts of our mission in support of our community. The facility belongs to the citizens of Barron County, and it is important that they are able to make use of it. The campus is pleased and proud to be an active participant in the life of our city, county, and region.