UWM at Waukesha highlighting renovations at Oct. 26 open house

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Waukesha has gotten an upgrade, and it’s time to show it off.

The campus is holding an open house Oct. 26 from 4 to 6 p.m. to show off those recent renovations. The campus, at 1500 N. University Drive in Waukesha, has updated and remodeled a number of student and office areas and added laboratory and classroom space for its first group of nursing students.

The public is invited to join staff, faculty and students at the event, “UWM at Waukesha Revamped: An evening celebrating new campus spaces and opportunities.”

A key highlight for students is a Student Union and makerspace/crafting area located off the main lobby in the area formerly occupied by the bookstore. The union will include a pool table and gaming areas. The campus library has also been expanded to include group study rooms.

Several offices that serve students and the public have been moved closer to the main entrance for easier accessibility. These include the career services office and the continuing education department.

Nursing program moves in

At the same time, the newly established nursing program is moving into the campus fieldhouse with the addition of a classroom and simulation labs. The labs allow students to learn hands-on skills using simulators that can be programmed to behave and respond like actual patients.

The first 32 junior- and senior-level students entering the professional nursing program started at Waukesha this fall. A cohort based at UW-Parkside will work collaboratively with the Waukesha group, sharing some classroom space virtually. The goal is to help ease the region’s nursing shortage by making nursing education more easily accessible to students in the Lake Country, Washington County and Waukesha County areas.

“As we know that 85-90% of our graduates remain in the region after graduation, these will be the nurses of the future for these counties,” said Kim Litwack, dean of the College of Nursing.

“We wanted to continue to improve the Waukesha campus and the UWM footprint in the region,” said Simon Bronner, dean of the College of General Studies, which includes UWM’s campuses in Waukesha and Washington County. “We wanted to enhance not only the quality of education, but also the quality of our facilities with an eye toward in-person instruction.”

Complete degrees on campus

The addition of the nursing program is a model for other future programs that could allow area residents to complete four-year degrees on the Waukesha or Washington County campuses, he added.

“We’re looking at other programs that could be extended to four years as part of our longer-range vision and our access mission. Nursing is a start,” Bronner said.

Total cost of the renovations was approximately $200,000, including technology upgrades. The renovations were paid for without using tax dollars, Bronner added. Bookstore commissions provide part of the funding. A $76,000 donation from Geraldine Pari, a former art student who started taking classes at the campus at age 60, paid for equipment upgrades and projects in the Arts and Humanities department.

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