News Release

Published on Thursday, May 17, 2007

Western Technical College announced today its plan to remodel the existing Coleman Center at 304 6th St. N., La Crosse, to create a new Community and Corporate Training Center. After initial fundraising efforts, Western’s Foundation is currently more than half-way to the goal of raising $2 million toward the total project cost of $4 million.

“The businesses and community members that we have approached are very supportive of this project,” said Lee Rasch, president of Western Technical College. “The center will help Western respond to a long standing need for flexible space that will provide room for specialized training for local businesses and accommodate large group functions.”

More than 30 donors have already committed to the project, and even some competing financial institutions have come together to support the initiative. Associated Bank, Coulee Bank, Fortress Bank, Merchants Bank, State Bank, US Bank, and Wells Fargo, are collaborating to sponsor a patio area in the courtyard.

“Quality education is so important – and the students that Western educates and the role they play in higher education is critical to our community,” said Bob Howard, president of Wells Fargo in
La Crosse. “As financial leaders in this area, we recognize that Western Technical College provides the community with a skilled workforce and contributes to the economic development of Western Wisconsin.”

If fundraising efforts continue as anticipated, Rasch said construction will begin in early spring of 2008. The timing of the project coincides with the relocation of Western’s Automotive Technology program, currently housed in the Coleman Center, to the Transportation Center in the La Crosse industrial park.

Donation opportunities for the public include room sponsorships and naming rights to the courtyard and the building itself. On a smaller investment scale, two sizes of engraved bricks and engraved metal stars will be available as part of a campaign to be announced this summer.

“In the nearly 100-year history of the college, this is the first opportunity for the community to be a part of Western’s legacy,” said Brian Rude, member of Western’s Foundation Board of Directors. “This is a chance to have your name, a loved one’s name, or a business’s name commemorated right in the heart of downtown La Crosse.”

For details on donating to the project, contact Lynn Rudig, executive director of the Western Foundation at 608.785.9487. For information on programs and services at Western, call 608.785.9200 or visit the Web site at