Growing educational infrastructure

May 1, 2010

By Jeff Plale, 7th District State Senator

During these tough economic times, Milwaukee continues to weather the storm. In this month’s column I will highlight growth and evolution at two of Milwaukee’s higher education institutions. Investments in education lead to job creation and a highly skilled workforce. It is important to ensure that Wisconsin’s young people have quality educational opportunities to make them marketable and competitive in the rapidly expanding global economy.

On March 5, Marquette University officially broke ground on its new Discovery Learning Complex. This 115,000-square-foot facility will foster engineering education at Marquette as well as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee School of Engineering. It will include a Discovery Learning Laboratory, an engineering materials and structural testing laboratory, teaching and research laboratories, common areas for students, and office space. The Discovery Learning Complex will facilitate the development and expansion of existing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research and education among college students and young people in the community.

The Discovery Leaning Complex, between 16th and 17th streets on Wisconsin Avenue, is part of a larger $35 million project and was made possible in part by a $5 million grant from the state of Wisconsin. It will ultimately be linked to a new 150,000-square-foot building that can accommodate a new curriculum rooted in discovery learning to better develop students as innovative problem solvers at the forefront of modern engineering.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is also undergoing substantial growth. On April 13, the Wisconsin State Senate passed a bill I authored, Senate Bill 514, which includes three projects from the UWM Master Plan Initiative. SB 514 authorizes over $125 million in funding for the construction of the Freshwater Sciences Initiative Research Building, the Kenwood Integrated Research Complex, and the acquisition and redevelopment of Columbia-St. Mary’s Columbia Campus medical facilities. The construction of these projects will create over 1,500 jobs in our area. The UWM Master Plan will cement UWM’s reputation as a top-notch research institution while teaching and training students.

Growth at Marquette and UWM will bring jobs to Milwaukee and promote economic development in the region. These important projects exemplify the ingenuity and dedication necessary for Wisconsin to grow and prosper.

Jeff Plale is the state senator for Wisconsin’s Seventh Senate District, which spans from Milwaukee’s East Side to Oak Creek, including downtown, the Third Ward, Bay View, St. Francis, Cudahy, and South Milwaukee. He can be reached locally at (414) 744-1444 or in Madison at (800) 361-5487 or

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One Comment on "Growing educational infrastructure"

  1. Rocket Mom on Sun, 2nd May 2010 8:10 am 

    Senator Plale actually comments on education when he chooses to educate his own child outside his district? Interesting. These projects are wonderful and all, but will our own children be able to go to these schools? Our local elementary and secondary schools are dying due to the broken state funding system. Back in the “good times” Mr. Plale had the power to fix the broken funding formula. Nothing happened. Please remember this when you vote in September.


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