Jeramey Jannene
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The Brand New UWM School of Freshwater Sciences

New freshwater school is the centerpiece of the burgeoning water cluster.

By - Sep 13th, 2014 01:18 pm

Walker’s Point is a changing neighborhood to be sure, with a booming food scene on a narrowed S. 2nd St., more and more apartments on the north end of the neighborhood and, perhaps most importantly, Milwaukee’s burgeoning water cluster. Two highly visible projects have already opened, the Global Water Center and Freshwater Way in the Reed Street Yards. Both serve as a home to monetize Milwaukee’s water knowledge and capacity, but they’ll struggle without a pipeline of talent. Enter the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee‘s School of Freshwater Sciences.

Established in 2009, the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences is the first graduate school in the country focused solely on freshwater. The school needed a home, and logically UWM attached it to the existing Great Lakes WATER Institute building on the east end of Greenfield Ave. This was not without controversy though, as a proposed plan had the school headquartered in a showcase building at the site of the current Harbor House restaurant.

Today mark’s the grand opening of the new $53 million facility at 600 E. Greenfield Ave. The building was designed by Robert Barr and the team at Continuum Architects & Planners, with general contracting services provided by JP Cullen & Sons of Janesville. It’s a flashy addition to an area that is largely single-story warehouses and factories. The contrast between the two styles is no better exemplified than the difference between the brown, nearly windowless Great Lakes WATER Institute building, and the new, wrapped-in-glass Freshwater Sciences building.

The 100,000 square-foot project broke ground in June of 2012. The facility includes classroom space, aquaculture laboratories, quarantine facilities used to study aquatic life, offices and meeting areas.

Like the broader Walker’s Point neighborhood, the area around the new headquarters is slated to change. The unsightly coal pile across the street will cease to exist as We Energies converts the Valley Power Plant to natural gas. The former Grede Foundries site at the northeast corner of E. Greenfield Ave. and N. 1st St. is about to become Freshwater Plaza, a somewhat suburban-style mixed-use development that will include offices, retail, apartments, and a new Cermak Fresh Market grocery store. That development is being led by Wangard Partners. E. Greenfield Ave. is also being completely rebuilt east of N. 1st St., which will be a welcome improvement to a previously forgotten street.

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2 thoughts on “Friday Photos: The Brand New UWM School of Freshwater Sciences”

  1. Chris says:

    I wonder if they’ll ever do a facelift to the building’s north side?

    Hopefully they’ll correct the bike parking. The racks are not only too far away from the front door, they’re installed in the wrong direction.

  2. And “not before time”. As life is thought to have emerged from the watery oceans and then learned to live on land so is agriculture now returning to fresh and salt water farming, aquaponics, hydroponics and other intensive, yet ecological farming methods. With top soil erosion and desertification becoming a larger problem than ever right when human kind would need larger, not less, “pastures” to feed the world, the conservation, generation and prudent use of freshwater is the lifeline for humankind.

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