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Sen. Risser bids adieu to Building Commission

By Paul Snyder

State Building Commission members and Department of Administration staff on Wednesday celebrated the 51 years of commission service by state Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison.

With Gov. Jim Doyle in Copenhagen for an international global warming summit, Risser served as chairman of Wednesday’s Building Commission meeting, his final one as a member.

Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, D-Schofield, earlier this year appointed state Sen. Pat Kreitlow, D-Chippewa Falls, to replace Risser in January.

David Helbach, Building Commission secretary and administrator in the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Division of State Facilities, presented Risser with a plaque for his service as well as a cake.

“We were able to pass around the hat at DSF,” Helbach said. “Even with the furloughs you guys gave them.”

Before adjourning, Risser recounted one of his earliest meetings on the Commission.

“It used to be that state agencies had to come in here and fight for money from the governor,” he said. “I remember in 1959, (former) Gov. (Gaylord) Nelson wanted to talk about the designs for the Hill Farms building here in Madison. He said we’ll never fill this building up, and knocked two floors off the original design.”

The Hill Farms site in Madison contains Wisconsin Department of Transportation offices and Department of Motor Vehicles services. The state in 2007 pitched plans to redevelop the site.

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