Monday, March 17, 2008


Although the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is already in the process of negotiating the purchase of land in Wauwatosa for a new engineering campus, a group is looking to have it built in downtown Milwaukee instead.

David Reid, the person behind a mass e-mail sent out by the group UWM Downtown, argues that a downtown location would be more convenient for students, have less environmental impact and create a “true engineering center” in the region by taking advantage of partnerships with schools like MSOE and Marquette, as well as business like Rockwell Automation and Johnson Controls.

“We just feel it’s better for the city and the region to consider expanding downtown instead of in Wauwatosa,” Reid said.

UW-Milwaukee spokesman Tom Luljak said that the decision to build the new engineering school and innovation park on the 83-acre parcel is not set in stone and open for discussion, but the site offers opportunities for key research partnerships.

“Our position is this is really not a real estate issue,” he said. “It’s much more a discussion about who we can partner with to advance our research initiatives.”

Luljak noted that the site offers a chance for collaboration with others like GE, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Children’s Hospital and Froedtert.

“Those are all institutions that are engaged in scientific research,” Luljak said. “By siting our innovation park and college nearby we believe that it could lead to tremendous collaboration that would much more rapidly fuel economic developments in the region.”

Luljak said the university is considering a downtown site for a new Academic Health Center and a proposed School of Public Health and is presently engaged in master planning for the physical aspects of the campus and is also working on a long-range academic plan. The goal is to synchronize the geographic concerns with academic needs.

But Reid said the public hasn’t been brought into the discussion enough.

He likened the issue to the debate over the placement of Miller Park, which some wanted built downtown.

“Maybe we should stop and think about this for a minute,” Reid said. “Maybe this would be a better option.”

The group has a Web site at and Reid blogs about development issues at


Dave said...

Thanks for posting about our efforts. UWM expanding in downtown simply offers too many advantages over expanding Tosa such as the potential collaboration with MSOE, Marquette, MATC, JCI and Rockwell. Or the environmental issues of encouraging more vehicle travel, concerns over wastewater management, and developing a greenfield. To the daily life of a student who may have to move, buy a car, or bus for hours a day to go to graduate school.

Dave said...

PS you can also find us on Facebook Search for the UWM Downtown! group and help out!