Alverno crosses finish line of $30 million capital campaign

As Alverno College rolls out the largest campus improvement project in its history – a $30 million expansion and renovation initiative – the school has announced the success of the three-year capital campaign it led to back the initiative.

The Milwaukee school exceeded its $30 million campaign goal in December, reaching a total of $32,793,000, largely thanks to a record $8.7 million contribution from alumnae as well as donations from staff, faculty, students and area corporations.

The campus’ construction project broke ground in March 2014 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. The project is marked by a variety of improvements and additions to the campus, encompassing a new three-story, 50,000-square-foot building as well as a 13,500-square-foot building addition and 125,000 square feet of building renovations. Milwaukee-based Uihlein Wilson Architects is taking the lead on the design of the new infrastructure.

“This is an investment in the city of Milwaukee as well as an investment in Alverno,” president Mary Meehan, Ph.D., said in a statement. “Our alums are leaders in business, health care and education, and since 80 percent of our graduates live and work in Wisconsin, we truly are having an impact locally.”

The new building will hold space for nine high-tech classrooms and will double the space available for art and dance education. The new building will also be home to a nursing simulation center for students enrolled in the JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing.

Additionally, the project will double the size of Alverno’s commons area with a larger food service area, a coffee shop and private group study rooms. A heritage plaza, constructed in honor of the School Sisters of St. Francis who founded Alverno College, will offer outdoor seating near the dining hall. And a new “Student Main Street” will act as a hub for advising, financial aid, career planning and other student services right by the new commons.

Another renovation will revamp the college’s conference center in the Sister Joel Read Center to allow for more meeting flexibility and better traffic flow. That center will be renamed the Bucyrus Conference Center to reflect a generous gift from the Bucyrus Foundation, which is a donor-advised fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

A separate gift from Milwaukee-based A.O. Smith Corporation has prompted Alverno to dub its international and intercultural office the A.O. Smith International and Intercultural Office.

Campus upgrades will also ensure Alverno is a more environmentally-friendly campus, with features such as energy-efficient lighting, furnishings with minimal environmental impact, energy-efficient heating and air conditioning, and a green roof atop the commons area.

The $30 million capital campaign responsible for funding the project kicked off in 2011 under the guidance of Paul Purcell, chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. as well as Don Layden, a partner of Milwaukee-based Quarles & Brady LLC and alumna Ellen Gardner, retired president of Ameritech-Wisconsin (now AT&T).

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