James Rowen
Op Ed

Foxconn Facility Could Help in Pandemic

New building isn’t manufacturing anything but could become emergency treatment center.

By - Mar 29th, 2020 01:38 pm
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Design for Foxconn's campus. Photo from the WEDC.

Design for Foxconn’s campus. Photo from the WEDC.

So Foxconn’s main Mt. Pleasant building is up; here’s an innovative plan for the nearly one-million-square-foot structure and the company’s “innovation centers” around the state — in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Eau Claire and Madison — that are idle or under utilized:

With the help of the Wisconsin National Guard, re-purpose those properties into the kind of temporary emergency COVID-19 treatment centers that New York City is opening.

The military knows how to do this. If our troops could quickly set up fast-response medical facilities in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak, they can do it here and take the pressure off established hospitals in Milwaukee, Chicago – – where McCormick Place is being turned into a hospital – – and elsewhere in the region which are going to be overrun with patients.

Two local businesses in SE Wisconsin have already shown the way. Let’s think even bigger.

The state should prioritize the completion of utility hookups, bring in local food preparation personnel and get some immediate benefit for the people from the millions in taxpayer dollars already invested in site acquisition, infrastructure and other services and in the process show the world that it’s Marshall Plan time in SE Wisconsin.

And marshal the resources and opportunities we might be overlooking.

And think of the goodwill it would engender for Foxconn in Wisconsin if the company made the offer and funded the transition.

Not to mention re-imaging the new I-94 lanes between Milwaukee and the Illinois state line from the death trap into a life line.

James Rowen, a former journalist and mayoral staffer in Milwaukee and Madison, writes a regular blog, The Political Environment.

More about the Coronavirus Pandemic

More about the Foxconn Facility

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