Graham Kilmer

MSOE Conservatory Opens in Historic Duplex

New music conservatory housed in former residential duplex on E. Juneau Ave.

By - Oct 23rd, 2023 05:09 pm

Left to Right, John Walz, Kathleen Reuhlow and Kendall Breunig.

Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) held a dedication and ribbon-cutting for the new Patricia Kern Conservatory of Music.

The new conservatory is housed in a redeveloped former duplex at 308-312 E. Juneau Ave. that is more than 100 years old. The 4,400-square-foot building includes three floors of practice rooms, recording studios, and offices for the university’s growing music program.

The conservatory is the first for MSOE’s relatively new music program. The building was acquired by the university in 2021 for $600,300 from longtime owners Lynn and Betty Adelman.

The music program at MSOE was created within the past decade said Alexa Deacon, director of Campus Life, and now includes a concert band, jazz ensemble, string orchestra, concert choir, pep band and jazz combo. While the university does not offer any degrees in music, students can receive credit for their participation in the ensembles. “Thankfully, today, we now have a space that’s dedicated to our music programs, ” Deacon said.

The new conservatory was named for Patricia Kern, a longtime benefactor for the university. She and her husband Robert founded Generac Power Systems in 1959 and in 1998 started the Kern Family Foundation. They were critical to fundraising for Viets Field and in 2004 the university opened The Kern Center, named for the couple.

“Pat and Bob Kern were devoted supporters of MSOE and its students,” MSOE President John Y. Walz said in a statement. “Pat had a love for singing and music and a passion for paying it forward, so it is fitting that the new dedicated space for music at MSOE be named in her honor.”

Patricia passed away in 2017 at the age of 88. Her husband Robert died in 2022 at the age of 96.

Walz was joined in a ceremonial ribbon cutting by MSOE Regents Kathleen Reuhlow and Kendall Breunig. “It’s gonna be great,” Walz said. “Let’s cut this thing and get ‘er done.”

The conservatory is sandwiched between two other MSOE buildings. On the west side of the building sits the Humphrey House, 1200 N. Broadway, which was also formerly owned by the Adelmans and has served as the home for the university president since 2007. East of the conservatory is Margaret Loock Hall, 324 E. Juneau Ave., a 12-story student housing complex.

The conservatory building has a long history of being rented by MSOE students. It was designed by Milwaukee architect Carl F. Ringer, Sr. The building dates to 1888 according to city assessment records, but the Wisconsin Historical Society puts construction at 1905.

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Categories: Education, Real Estate

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