Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Construction Underway On $118 Million UW-Milwaukee Building

University developing new chemistry building, STEM gateway.

By - Feb 4th, 2022 05:34 pm
UW-Milwaukee Chemistry Building aerial plan. Rendering by CannonDesign and Kahler Slater.

UW-Milwaukee Chemistry Building aerial plan. Rendering by CannonDesign and Kahler Slater.

Construction is underway on a state-of-the-art facility for the UW-Milwaukee Chemistry Department.

The four-story, 163,400-square-foot building is being developed at approximately 2000 E. Kenwood Blvd. It is intended to serve as a gateway to all of the university’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) departments and buildings.

“This new facility will represent much of what the Wisconsin Idea is all about,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson at the Jan. 26 groundbreaking. “To meet the state’s biggest and thorniest challenges and, most importantly, to equip our students with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed.”

Design work on the new facility is being led by a partnership of CannonDesign and Kahler Slater. VJS Construction Services is leading the general contracting.

“Chemistry underlies nearly every growth industry, and we know that STEM jobs are growing faster than non-STEM jobs,” said UWM Chancellor Mark Mone. “Employers need graduates who have the opportunity to conduct practical research and develop skills to solve problems. We are delighted to begin work on a new, modern chemistry building that will better prepare our students for the multitude of opportunities open to them.”

The current chemistry building, located just north of the new facility, was completed in 1972. It will be demolished following the completion of the new building.

A university report says the department has more than 250 undergraduate students, 70 graduate students in MS and PhD programs, 18 faculty members, 18 academic, technical, administrative staff members and 10 post-doctoral fellows and visiting faculty members.

“The primary reason we’re excited about the new building is that it will be a state-of-the-art facility,” said department chair Joseph Aldstadt in a UWM report. “We’ll be able to significantly enhance our teaching, research, and outreach missions. We’ll have new learning spaces for lectures, tutoring, study groups; new laboratories that integrate teaching and research, with efficiencies in design that make collaborative research easier to do.”

Northeast of the new building is the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex, which was completed in 2015. The utility infrastructure for the two buildings will be linked. The research center was the first facility in what is intended to be a cluster of new STEM facilities.

The new chemistry building is being developed on the site of what was most recently the Kunkle Center, 2114 E. Kenwood Blvd. The one-story structure was demolished starting in 2014. It was known as the Campus Elementary School when it was constructed in 1958 and housed the university’s children’s center from 1975 until its demolition. The Lubar Entrepreneurship Center, which also houses the university’s welcome center, was constructed on the eastern portion of the site in 2019.

The project has been several years in the making. Monthly design workshops with faculty members began in early 2018 and the State Building Commission authorizing the project’s construction in December 2020.

The project is expected to be completed in late 2023 or early 2024. If you want to watch the action, a webcam is available (though, as of publication it is stuck on a nighttime view).

The chemistry building isn’t the only major construction project on the campus. The State Building Commission and Wisconsin State Legislature also authorized a $41 million project to renovate the student union. The oldest part of that facility dates back to 1956. J.H. Findorff & Son is leading that contracting work and HGA is leading the design. A series of other projects, including a Klotsche Center expansion and a Northwest Quadrant update, are underway.



Student Union

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One thought on “Friday Photos: Construction Underway On $118 Million UW-Milwaukee Building”

  1. sbaldwin001 says:

    I am glad they waited until the post-pandemic future was more certain before beginning construction. I am disappointed they did not take some amount input from the staff and public so that the design would have collaborative as well as the research. I wish them well. They have an important mission.

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