Jeramey Jannene
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Marquette’s New Nursing Building Quickly Taking Shape

Former business school getting several-million-dollar overhaul.

By - Mar 24th, 2023 01:03 pm
Straz Hall redevelopment. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Straz Hall redevelopment. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A new home for Marquette University‘s College of Nursing is quickly taking shape on the near west side campus.

The university is overhauling Straz Hall, formerly the home of its College of Business Administration, into a modern nursing education complex.

The five-story building, 1225 W. Wisconsin Ave., will gain a new front door and large atrium that faces Marquette’s pedestrian-only quad between Wisconsin Avenue and Clybourn Street. Interior spaces will include an auditorium, flexible classrooms and a newly-created, wrap-around service center to support students. Labs will be interspersed throughout the building and a student break room will overlook the campus. Faculty and staff offices will be included on the upper floors.

Construction began at the very end of 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2024.

“Every decision we made in shaping this facility was based on supporting student learning in a rapidly changing environment,” said university vice president Lora Strigens in a May 2022 announcement.

The existing facade has been removed, exposing the concrete structure. A building permit lists architecture firm HGA as the designer on the project. J.H. Findorff & Son is serving as the general contractor. The newly-expanded building is to include 103,274 square feet of space.

The new building comes as part of a plan to scale up one of Marquette’s most in-demand programs.

The college has a plan to graduate 5,000 nurses in the next decade by expanding the undergraduate program by 200 students and graduate program by 400 students. In press releases, the university reports the undergraduate program is ranked 29th in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The growth plan includes graduating 1,000 nurses from “diverse backgrounds,” becoming a leader in telehealth education and growing the number of Ph.D.-prepared faculty.

A series of large private donations will bolster the nursing program’s growth. A $31 million, 2021 gift from alumni couple, Darren and Terry Jackson is the key funding component. Terry is a 1987 nursing graduate and leads the campaign committee. Darren was chair of the university’s trustee board from 2009 to 2012 and previously served as CEO of Advance Auto Parts. The college also announced a $1.5 million private family foundation gift in fall 2021.

In 2022, the college announced a $1 million gift to support the project from alumni couple Micky and Jennifer Minhas. Micky is a university trustee and engineering college graduate and Jennifer is a 1989 nursing program graduate.

Straz Hall became available following the business school’s move into a new, donor-funded building at 1530 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Straz Hall opened in 1951 and gained its current name in 1984. David A. Straz, Jr. was a 1965 graduate of the business school and later sold multiple banks to larger institutions. He made several major donations to Marquette. Straz Tower, 915 W. Wisconsin Ave., is also named for Straz, as are buildings on the Carthage College and University of Tampa campuses. A long-time Florida resident, Straz passed away in 2019 at the age of 77.

The project will create a vacancy at the nursing program’s current home at Clark Hall. The 46,000-square-foot building is located at 530 N. 16th St. The university, in a December press release, said it has yet to identify a future use for the building through a master planning process. The current project is part of the 2015 campus plan.

Another major construction project is also starting on the campus. The university is working to expand the Helfaer Tennis Stadium and Recreation Center, 525 N. 16th St., into a full-fledged wellness facility as part of an $80 million project announced in March 2022.


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