Gov. Tony Evers included $15 million for a new $100 million cancer research facility on the Medical College of Wisconsin campus in a state capital budget released Thursday.
The proposed 150,000-square-foot facility is envisioned as a “hub for innovative research on the biological, genetic, and social causes of the extensive cancer burden and cancer disparities in Wisconsin,” according to budget documents.
The new building would allow MCW to centralize its existing cancer research operations, accommodate its expansion plans and allow the college to better engage with community partners and research participants.
The medical college plans to hire up to 50 research scientists over the next five to seven years, with each of those investigators resulting in five to 10 additional new full-time positions. MCW has maximized its existing cancer research facilities, limiting its capacity for its planned cancer research expansion, budget documents said.
The new building, which would include lab, office and administrative spaces, would allow MCW to co-locate its existing researchers and staff, along with new faculty and staff members, into a centralized location on its Wauwatosa campus.
The budget documents do not specify the exact planned location of the new facility.
“This co-location will dramatically improve MCW’s institutional effectiveness in advancing cancer research,” budget documents said. “Currently, many of MCW’s cancer trials are comprised of MCW researchers physically dispersed across several locations on campus, without a centralized, shared workplace. The new facility will bring together research disciplines to create more opportunities to develop research projects relevant to the many different areas of the cancer research-continuum MCW is advancing.”
MCW cited the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center’s Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research building as an effective example of the research co-location model.
Since 2008, when MCW identified cancer as the institution’s top strategic priority, it has invested more than $180 million in its existing cancer center, according to budget documents.
In 2018, MCW opened its new 320,000-square-foot Hub for Collaborative Medicine in the center of the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. The new eight-story facility, which is connected to the school’s existing Medical Education and Health Research Center, is designed as a collaborative office space for students, researchers and clinicians and can house as many as 1,500 employees.
It is also partnering with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation on a new center in Milwaukee’s central city, where the organizations will focus on addressing health disparities. The location of the planned center has not yet been announced, but the organizations have identified Milwaukee’s Halyard Park, Haymarket or Hillside neighborhoods as possible sites.