Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Mount Mary Plans $45 Million Complex

Single mother students, sisters and seniors will live together in 166-unit housing complex.

By - Dec 4th, 2019 01:52 pm
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Mount Mary Intergenerational Housing Site Plan. Image from Mount Mary University.

Mount Mary Intergenerational Housing Site Plan. Image from Mount Mary University.

Mount Mary University, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Milwaukee Catholic Home are planning a 166-unit intergenerational living complex on the university’s campus on the city’s far west side.

The $45 million complex will provide housing for the sisters of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, including assisted living units, as well as housing for single mothers attending the university and their children. An early childhood education center is also planned for the complex, available to residents, staff and the community.

“These women often have various obstacles to getting an education,” said university president Christine Pharr. She said on-campus housing would address housing, transportation and child-care issues as well as other obstacles.

The sisters will move their residence from Notre Dame of Elm Grove as part of the project. One hundred sisters currently live in Elm Grove with an additional 100 spread throughout the Milwaukee area. The international organization has over 3,000 members.

Many of the sisters are Mount Mary graduates said Pharr. The university was founded as a ministry of the School Sisters in 1913 and moved to its 80-acre home in Milwaukee in 1929.

Plans call for 52 assisted-living units for sisters who require care, 90 one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments for sisters and other seniors, and 16 to 24 family units for undergraduate single mothers and their children.

The complex would be built on the north side of the university’s campus along W. Burleigh St. Pharr said the woods on the northeast corner of the university’s property near N. 92nd St. and W. Burleigh St. would be maintained. “We think that’s an important part of our aesthetic,” said Pharr.

A three-story “town hall” building, with a gathering space, health clinic, salon and bistro would link the various housing wings. Various amenities in the town hall portion would be open to university students and staff.

The project, currently unnamed, is expected to break ground in mid-2020 and open in late 2021. Funding will come from the three partner organizations as well as fundraising. The partners intend to use tax-exempt bonds to finance a portion of the project’s costs.

The partners are working with Plunkett Raysich Architects on the complex’s design. Senior Housing Partners is serving as the partners’ owner’s representative. BB&T Capital Markets is working on the bond’s issuance.

Milwaukee Catholic Home, which manages the Elm Grove property for the sisters, will manage the order’s portion of the new complex. Artifacts from the current complex will be incorporated into the new development.

Sister Debra Sciano, provincial leader for the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Providence, said future plans for the Elm Grove campus would be released when appropriate.

Approximately 60 full-time equivalent jobs are expected to be created from the project, said Pharr.

The College of St. Mary in Ohama, NE, where Pharr previously served as an administrator, is one of a handful of institutions to offer housing specifically for single mothers. The move to bring a religious order back to campus mirrors projects by other universities and orders including St. Catherine University.

Mount Mary university has 1,404 students, including 807 female undergraduate and 597 co-ed graduate students.

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One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Mount Mary Plans $45 Million Complex”

  1. blurondo says:

    ” future plans for the Elm Grove campus would be released when appropriate.”

    Should there be a link between this piece and this one: “Will Tent City Come Back?”

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