August 30, 2021
UWM gets a new look. Construction begins this fall and early next year on a number of long-awaited projects that will renew and upgrade the university’s main campus.
Perhaps the most visible project to students is the $ 40.7 million renovation of the UWM Student Union. The building typically has around 20,000 visitors a day during the academic year, many of whom, particularly commuters, use it as a place to hang out, eat, and study between classes.
The 350,000-square-foot building was mainly built in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The theme of the work is “respect, restoration and refreshment” of the building, according to Carli Cole, project manager and deputy vice-president of the architect HGA.
The plan, she added, “really focuses on respecting the original architecture, restoring the inside and outside, and freshening up the interiors.”
Renovation work is slated to begin this fall and be completed in 2023, according to JH Findorff and Sons Construction, who will be carrying out the work. Much of the focus will be on upgrading the building’s mechanical, electrical and alarm systems, as well as restoring and cleaning the exterior. As part of the exterior improvements, contractors will replace the canopy at the Kenwood Avenue entrance. A new west entrance on Maryland Avenue will also be created.
In addition, around 50% of the project will include interior work. These improvements will add windows and open up the hall inside to let in more natural light. The renovation will also create clearer passages throughout the building. These interior improvements include lighting, audiovisual technology upgrades, and new furniture in many union rooms.
The architects wanted to bring in more natural light by opening up the facade, freshening up the furniture and finishes, and “adding a bold sense of panther pride to the building itself,” said Cole.
Improvements are also planned for the “penthouse”, a large technical room on the top level of the building, which today houses mechanical systems and ventilation devices. Structural reinforcements are planned for the foundations and supports of the building.
The Studentenwerk remains open throughout the entire academic year during the renovation work. During the course of the project, some areas will be closed to the public as they are being renovated. Detailed plans for “what happens when” are still being finalized.
A number of areas, including the Union Art Gallery, will be moving temporarily due to construction.
Other important upcoming construction projects are:
Wisconsin Center Orthopedic Hospital
This 16,000 square meter extension of the Klotsche Center & Pavilion is mainly used by the men’s and women’s basketball teams of the Panthers.
The new facility will have a full-size basketball court with the same design as the playgrounds, a basketball strength and conditioning center, a video room, an additional sports medicine and treatment center, and a basketball student-athlete lounge. A Panther Athletics Hall of History will also be integrated into the facility.
HGA Architects & Engineers designed the system. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on August 25, and the extension is expected to be completed in autumn 2022.
New chemistry building
This building will be located on Kenwood Avenue between the current physics building and the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center and the UWM Welcome Center.
UWM has received government-backed loans of 129.5 million. Construction will begin in January 2022 and will be completed in late 2023 or early 2024.
The new building will serve as a “gateway” to the MINT buildings and departments that will house the subjects of natural sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics. It will host courses for the 2,400 UWM students who take chemistry classes each year, as well as classrooms for other science students.
Renovation of the Northwest Quadrant
This $ 59.7 million project offers security updates, repairs, and conversions. Buildings C and D will be converted to house a nursing simulation center, the School of Information Studies and the Student Health Service. This phase is expected to be completed in January 2022.
The entrances to Building B will be remodeled, with an expected start date for January 2022 and a completion date for the end of 2023. Work on the conversions of floors 2, 3, 7 and 8 in building D and floor 3 in building C is ongoing.
Building A, the oldest and most dilapidated part of the complex, which makes up about 25% of the area of the complex, will be demolished from June 2022.
Current information on these major projects and other construction projects can be found on the website of the campus building.
This press release was produced by UWM in Waukesha. The views expressed here are your own.