Campus Plan History

Master Planning has been an important part of the of the University since it was founded in 1956. As stewards of the Master Plan, we use and integrated planning model to facilitate and implement long-term planning that supports the mission,goals and strategic plan. This history of collaboration began with the 1956 President of UW-Madison Edwin Broun Fred, the President of the Board of Regents, A. Matt Werner, and our first Chancellor, J. Martin Klotsche. We have implemented portions of the 2010 Master Plan, 2014 Northwest Quadrant Redevelopment Plan and 2015 Southwest Quadrant Redevelopment Plan. These and future plans will continue to enhance UW-Milwaukee as a vitally important academic institution.


Master Plans of UW-Milwaukee
History of a Changing Campus

When the Wisconsin State Legislature established the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1956 as a merger between the Milwaukee State Teachers College and the University of Wisconsin, the site selection process for the new University revolved around the existing UW location in the central business district, the existing Downer Avenue location residential neighborhood on the upper east side, or a new location that would require acquiring land on the County Grounds in Wauwatosa. The Kenwood campus on the upper east side, as it would come to be known, recognized the value of the neighborhood character and benefits of access to non-campus housing and proximity to the lakefront, cultural, recreational and employment resources. To a University intent on serving local students, it’s easy access by car and public transportation was seen as an asset.

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Periodically the University has engaged outside firms and its own planning department to plot the course of development and expansion, calling for new schools, new building types and new spaces for students to gather. The selected campus site became the subject of the first Master Plans, in the form of two reports, a Zone Plan and a Sketch Plan, prepared by planning faculty in 1960; University planners expanded upon ideas from the 1960 report in a 1965 follow-up plan. In 1972, the firm Caudhill Rowlett Scott prepared a Campus Planning Workbook and Phase I of a plan to re-establish UWM’s mission.

These formal efforts to address changes in student demographics, the city context and the quality and condition of buildings on campus started with ambitious regularity and have since become less regular with more long-term capital development goals. In the interim between the official Master Plans from 1972 and 2010, two in-house plans (Year 2000 Master Plan, 1982, prepared by the Master Plan Committee and SARUP Urban Design Plan, 1989, by students and faculty) again analyzed spaces on campus and laid out potential standards for going forward. Each Master Plan has attempted to resolve space issues driven by student enrollment, the need for public parking & transportation, and concepts for the image of the campus as distinct from the neighborhood setting. However, they retain the initial goal of creating a world class urban University.

UWM has also expanded its urban presence by establishing outposts for specialized education in the Continuing Education spaces in the Grand Avenue Mall, the Joseph P. Zilber School of Public Health, the School of Freshwater Sciences, Global Water Institute, and Innovation Campus.

Master Plans and Studies (1960-Present):