Dave Reid

UWM Dorm Planned to be LEED Certified

By - Oct 27th, 2008 10:33 pm
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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.

The green initiatives for the project stemmed from the need to remediate the site and UWM’s requirement for green features as part of the new dorm. Jim Shields, the lead architect from HGA, gave an overview regarding the greenspace and planting of the site. He explained that all the trees would remain just as they are now and that there would be no clear cutting on the site. Additionally he pointed out, that they are going to plant the greenspace with native trees, that the site would include rain gardens, a grass field for soccer or frisbee, greenroofs on the two wings, and the main building’s roof will collect rain water in a cistern to use for watering the grass. He added that a high density development is needed to qualify as a sustainable urban development and to receive the LEED certification they are looking to obtain. Monnat added that “there is very little benefit of building a LEED certified building out in the middle of a cornfield that, where everyone has to drive to,” indicating that you lose the environmental savings that you have created when you force everyone to drive.

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.

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2 thoughts on “UWM Dorm Planned to be LEED Certified”

  1. Feebus 9 says:

    Hey Dave – what do you think about this UWM in Wauwatosa proposal? ANything we can rally to keep it downtown?

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @Feebus 9 Well as you may or may not know I started a group called UWM Downtown http://www.uwmdowntown.org Primarily I am asking people to email their county supervisors asking them not to support this land sale. The site lays out many of the reasons why the move to Tosa isn’t desirable. More specifically it lays out why an expansion in Milwaukee would be better for all parties involved. Take a look.

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