MSOE continues campus transformation with plans for campus green, welcome center
As yet another major construction project nears completion on campus, two more are set to begin. MSOE is excited to welcome students home to the newly renovated Hermann Viets Tower, and when they return they’ll see two new campus improvement projects underway: a 1.13-acre campus green space in the heart of campus, and a new Welcome Center for prospective students and their families. MSOE’s continued investments in the campus adds to the renaissance downtown Milwaukee is experiencing fueled by corporate, cultural and community interest and partnership.
“As an urban campus in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, the MSOE Board of Regents and I wanted to not only strengthen our identity and footprint in the city but also ensure our students had ample green space to enjoy,” said President John Walz. “The green space and Welcome Center will announce to visitors downtown that they are on the campus of one of the nation’s top technical universities.”
The campus green creates additional common space that will increase opportunities for meaningful and significant student, faculty and staff interactions. It will be located in the area bounded by North Broadway on the west, North Milwaukee Street on the east, the Alumni Center and Viets Tower on the north, and Diercks Hall and Direct Supply’s Innovation and Technology Center on the south. The total area is 49,300 square feet (1.13 acres). Key features include:
- extensive landscaping including 48 shade trees, 14 ornamental trees, 160 new shrubs and more than 500 new perennials and grasses
- a hammock grove between Diercks Hall and Viets Tower
- a dedicated and accessible walkway for students between Broadway and Milwaukee Street
- walking paths in the landscape that include small study nodes and patios for students, faculty and staff to informally gather
- Wi-Fi throughout and power at selected locations
- a student green with a wall for projecting movies or games
- a student life plaza on Broadway
- a family plaza with an MSOE monument sign feature
- an MSOE archway over the vehicle driveway on North Broadway providing a visual ‘entrance’ to campus
- a redesign of the driveway leading to the Diercks Hall underground parking garage to allow flow of vehicles and pedestrians
- a small parking area to serve the Welcome Center
MSOE is transforming the previous Todd Wehr Conference Center into a new MSOE Welcome Center for prospective students, families and guests. The Welcome Center will be located in the northeast corner of the Campus Center building at Broadway and Highland Ave. It will serve as “home base” for prospective students and their families when they arrive at MSOE to meet with the Office of Admissions and tour campus.
MSOE is poised to welcome the largest incoming class of students in university history this fall. As student and community interest in MSOE’s programs continues to grow, the new Welcome Center will comfortably accommodate campus visitors. The center will include flexible meeting space; private meeting areas for families and their admissions counselor; MSOE’s bookstore and spirit wear shop; and common areas for students, faculty and staff to study, work and collaborate.
Construction gets underway this summer on the campus green and Welcome Center projects and is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2021. The Welcome Center project is being funded by bond financing facilitated by the Wisconsin Health & Educational Facilities Authority (WHEFA). “Access to tax-exempt financing helped us move forward with items in our strategic plan related to implementing visionary and comprehensive plans for campus buildings,” said Walz. Additional funds from the bond offering will be used to upgrade the exterior of the Campus Center and other related projects.
The latest projects continue MSOE’s campus transformation to meet the needs of today’s students. Major construction and renovations like the Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall, We Energies STEM Center, Robert Spitzer Dining Commons, Ruehlow Nursing Complex expansion, Raiders Stadium, Direct Supply Innovation and Technology Center, and Hermann Viets Tower continue the momentum that began with the Kern Center, Grohmann Museum, Pamela and Hermann Viets Athletic Field, Grohmann Tower, and Ruehlow Nursing Complex. All of these facilities are designed to support learning, collaboration and campus life.