UWM administrators note progress and urgent needs on building projects

Several important building projects at UWM are well underway and nearing completion, but several others are urgently needed, UWM officials told the UW System Board of Regents Capital Planning and Budget Committee on Thursday. The board is meeting in Milwaukee June 8-9.

Robin Van Harpen, senior vice chancellor for finance and administrative affairs, and Melissa Spadanuda, associate vice chancellor for facilities, planning and management, shared photos and information about the construction blossoming all over campus, along with projected completion dates.

Robin Van Harpen (right) and Melissa Spadanuda make a presentation to the regents capital committee. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox)

Renovations and new facilities in the Northwest and Southwest quads are already underway, along with an upgrade to the UWM Student Union and construction of the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin addition to the Klotsche Center as part of earlier master plans, according to Van Harpen.

The new Chemistry Building in the Southwest Quad, which is expected to be completed in the spring or summer of 2024, is a vital development in the university’s efforts to meet the growing needs for education in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, she said.

Meanwhile, areas of the Northwest Quad have been improved for a new Student Health and Wellness Center that combines medical, counseling and and other health  services for students, a new space for the School of Information Studies and the James and Yvonne Ziemer Clinical Simulation Center.

“We’ve been making some significant progress,” Spadanuda said.

Important needs

However, both UWM administrators highlighted the many important needs that still to be addressed, noting that 55% of buildings on the campus are more than 50 years old.

Facilities for health sciences, engineering and neurosciences and a replacement chiller are a critical needs.

UWM has 500 local partners who need health sciences graduates, Van Harpen said. Planned upgrades to the Northwest Quadrant have yet to happen, and there is an urgent need for a building where health sciences could be centralized for interdisciplinary work.

While the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has approved $5 million in funding for planning, delays mean a loss of opportunities, Van Harpen said.

“These facilities are needed to support recruiting and retention of students and faculty,” she said.

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