The Marquette University Board of Trustees Thursday approved moving ahead with the first phase of the university’s new, $100 million College of Engineering facility.
The first phase will involve construction of a five-story, 100,000 square foot building on the south side of Wisconsin Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets. Preparation of the site has already begun with soil testing and environmental demolition work on the interior of four university-owned apartment buildings. Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J., said the university expects to break ground for the new building in spring 2010 with initial occupancy planned for August 2011.
The structure will feature an innovative Discovery Learning Laboratory and a two-story engineering materials and structural testing laboratory, as well as other new teaching and research laboratories, common areas for students and office space.
“With $25 million cash in hand and pledges of $10 million we expect to receive over the next two years, the board expressed confidence in our ability to move forward,” Father Wild said. The university has more than $68 million of the projected $100 million cost of the total project pledged and will continue aggressive fundraising in order to complete the entire project as soon as possible, he said.
The initial structure will be linked to a future, 150,000 square foot building that will include classrooms, offices and additional laboratories.
“I’m confident that we will raise the full $100 million cost of the project – and I’m committed to doing so,” said Opus Dean Stan Jaskolski. “We need more engineers, and we need a facility where students, faculty and our industry and educational partners can come together to problem solve and design solutions. This new facility is being explicitly designed for collaboration at multiple levels. It is truly a gift to the Milwaukee region, taking advantage of our urban location and providing space for innovation and idea sharing.”
Richard J. Fotsch, a trustee and engineering alumnus who is president of the Kohler Company’s Global Power Group, said faculty expertise, the increased emphasis on hands-on learning in the engineering curriculum, regional collaborations with industry and other institutions and the college’s extensive outreach to K-12 schools and students were evidence of the changes in engineering education at Marquette that require the new facility.
Tom Ganey, the university architect, said the phased approach to construction allows the university to move forward with the funds on hand while continuing to raise funds for the balance of the project. Opus North Corporation is the Design/Build firm for the project.
Marquette this summer had more than $130 million of construction underway. The university opened a new residence hall, Rev. James J. McCabe, S.J., Hall, in August 2009; the hall was an extensive renovation of a former apartment building and retail space on the northeast corner of 17th Street and Wisconsin Avenue. A new student services/administration building at 12th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, Joseph and Vera Zilber Hall, is expected to be ready for occupancy this November. And a signature building at the southeast corner of the campus, at the corner of 11th Street and Clybourn Avenue, is the new Marquette University Law School facility; Ray and Kay Eckstein Hall will open in the summer of 2010. Other building projects include the renovation of the Varsity Theatre and extensive remodeling of classroom and laboratory space in several academic buildings.
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