Monday, May 05, 2008

Downtown a Cost-Effective and Time-Efficient Alternative for UWM Expansion

A recent analysis by UWM Downtown shows that a downtown location for the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s expansion would be between $23-28 million less to construct and
could be finished in a more timely manner than the currently contemplated County Grounds
site in Wauwatosa.
First, downtown Milwaukee has all of the infrastructure in place needed for development, such
as roads, sewer, water, stormwater management and telecommunications. Constructing that
infrastructure on undeveloped land in Wauwatosa would cost between $15-20 million. In
addition, excess land would have to be purchased in Wauwatosa for freeway buffers and
stormwater management. In downtown, less land would need to be purchased, saving
additional financial resources. As a result, UWM would be able to spend their limited funds on
actual school buildings, research facilities and chair endowments instead of land purchases and
infrastructure. Downtown would also allow shared parking opportunities, whereas in
Wauwatosa, all parking would be used solely for UWM and left underutilized in off-peak
times. A chart explaining these costs in more detail can be found online at:
Second, not only will UWM have to spend less time raising money to begin construction, with
all of the infrastructure in place, they can begin construction of school buildings immediately.
There would be little public opposition to students moving into the downtown area and there
are little environmental concerns with a downtown location. As a result, the public hearing
process would be smooth.
Dave Reid of UWM Downtown says, “It is important to the Milwaukee region’s economy that UWM increase its research capacity as soon as possible and it is important to the taxpayers of
Wisconsin that UWM chooses a cost-effective location.

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