The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has received a green light from the State of Wisconsin Building Commission that will keep the school on track to break ground on its new Lubar Entrepreneurship Center by early 2018.
The commission on Wednesday approved a request to increase the project budget for the entrepreneurship center by $500,000. The additional money will be used to address problems stemming from unforeseen soil conditions on the site where the new building will be erected.
With the budget increase, the total state construction funds for the new facility will be $8.27 million. According to state documents, construction on the project is anticipated to start in January 2018 with a tentative completion date set for December 2019.
Milwaukee businessman and philanthropist Sheldon Lubar and his wife Marianne first unveiled plans for the entrepreneurship center — and a $10 million donation to establish and operate it — in 2015. The center, with a budget estimated in 2015 of $25 million, will be housed in a two-story, 23,500-square-foot building at the northwest corner at the intersection of Kenwood Boulevard and Maryland Avenue on UWM’s campus.
The center aims to be the central campus resource for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship through providing a flexible space for students to engage in research and entrepreneurial ventures. It will feature innovation labs and maker space, as well as create opportunities for other academic disciplines and the private sector to participate in collaborative research and activities. The intention is to house all entrepreneurship programs and services at UWM in this facility.
The new building will also be home to the school’s existing admissions and visitor center currently located in the campus’ Vogel Hall. Additionally, the building will have the capacity to host large events and audiovisual displays, as well as provide convenient visitor parking.
Lubar is founder and chairman of Milwaukee’s Lubar & Co. private investment firm.