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Partnering to enhance events, health and wellness opportunities

UW-Eau Claire alumni John and Carolyn Sonnentag had a vision: A new events center to serve UW-Eau Claire and the surrounding community that could accommodate larger-scale events than what can currently be held in available area venues.

That vision is now taking shape, thanks to a generous commitment of $10 million in land and money through the Sonnentags' philanthropic foundation to the Blugold Real Estate Foundation (a supporting organization of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation) in August 2014. Following a successful student referendum in April 2021, the UW System Board of Regents has approved a lease for UW-Eau Claire students to benefit from this groundbreaking public-private partnership. Learn more about the Sonnentags' gift and the plans underway for the Sonnentag Event and Recreation Complex.

The site of the Sonnentag Complex will be on Menomonie Street in Eau Claire, along the Chippewa River, on the former site of John and Carolyn Sonnentag's family-owned business, County Materials Corp., as well as land formerly occupied by Student Transit-Eau Claire Inc. and Fabick Cat.

Sonnentag Site Plan

As currently envisioned, the complex will include:

  • a 172,502 square foot major event facility with a total capacity of 5,000 (3,250 fixed seats, 1,320 floor seats, and limited standing room);
  • two-story UW-Eau Claire wellness and recreation facilities;
  • offices for Blugold Athletics;
  • four sport courts suitable for basketball, volleyball, etc.;
  • a Mayo Clinic Health System clinical location offering sports medicine, human performance enhancement, and imaging services;
  • a 120-yard artificially-turfed fieldhouse and 72-foot ceiling;
  • surface parking to serve the entire complex, including electric vehicle charging stations; and
  • land suitable for complex expansion or development of private businesses that could complement and serve activities at the event and recreation complex.
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