UWM Dorm Planned to be LEED Certified
Bob Monnat, the chief operating officer of Mandel Group, gave an overview of how the public meeting process will work and a presentation covering the environmental aspects of the project. He explained that the point of have these meetings take place within the recently built dorms, was so that residents could get a feel for the type of atmosphere and quality that is to be expected. Additionally he pointed out that in an effort to make this as open a process as possible the materials from each meeting will be posted on the Mandel Group website.
A brief history of the site was laid out to give perspective as to the need for redevelopment of this location. The site has had many uses over time including, a roller rink, an ice harvesting site, a truck storage and repair facility, and a gas station. The most recent uses created environmental issues that were worsened by the site being covered by a 100% impervious surface. This impervious surface resulted in a significant amount of stormwater runoff carrying toxins and chemical from the former uses directly into the river. The proposed dorm design plans to convert the site from 100% impervious to 91 percent pervious which will dramatically reduce the stormwater runoff from this site and improve water quality.
In addition to the numerous green features the proposed building will follow standard urban design guidelines. Specifically it will be located on the property line, it will have first floor retail, and underground parking. The project will also include the building of a public access stairway and ramp to allow access to the river from the site.
Although the stated goal of the meeting was to discuss the green features of the project there were a handful of questions on other topics. While a few residents asked about the students moving through the neighborhoods, trash issues, parking, and traffic, the most vocal opposition came when a resident interrupted saying “I don’t want to hear anymore about the building.” There were also questions from residents regarding what will happen during the winter as the trees shed their leaves but as Shields explained “according to the Milwaukee River Workgroup our building was adequately concealed.” If turnout was any indication, this meeting showed just how far UWM has come in working with the neighborhood as opposition to the project was clearly considerably lower.