J.P. Cullen lands $36.4 million contract to build UWM water complex


Janesville-based J.P. Cullen & Sons Inc. has been awarded a $36.4 million contract to build the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences in Milwaukee.

The redevelopment will include reconstructing Greenfield Avenue, east of South First Street, and will incorporate an innovative storm water management plan and educational features focusing on freshwater habits.
Adjacent to the current Great Lakes Water Institute and serving as its front door, the new integrated marine, freshwater and atmospheric research laboratory project will include a 92,600-square-foot, three-story addition on the south side of the existing Great Lakes Research Facility (GLRF) that overlooks the Milwaukee Harbor.
The location was chosen to promote collaboration and shared support functions between the two buildings.
The new addition will provide multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research space, core facilities, collaborative space and teaching and instructional spaces.
The addition will house the Center for Water Policy, Great Lakes Genomics Center, state-of-the-art laboratories for researchers and students, classrooms, quarantine facilities to allow research students to acquire aquatic organisms from the Great Lakes, and serve as a substantial expansion of the School of Freshwater Sciences (SFS) aquaculture labs.
David Garman, founding dean of the School of Freshwater Sciences, said, “The building will greatly expand our ability to understand freshwater issues. The tools and technologies we will have in place when it opens will be second to none. Together with the new centers and programs we’re introducing at the School, UWM will be one of the preeminent places in the world to study freshwater.”
UWM’s engineering faculty, who explore water technologies, will have space on the top floor, contributing to the school’s interdisciplinary nature and mission. In addition to the renovations, the existing building will include a new fire alarm system, an emergency power distribution system and a new process water system for aquatic life support.
The existing surface parking lot and a small one-story section of the building that currently houses the robotics lab will be demolished to accommodate the addition.
The building’s main public entry will be located at the southeast corner of the new addition, adjacent to the administration wing, providing consolidated access to classrooms and administration. A staff entry will be located at the west end of the building.
The mission of the School of Freshwater Sciences is to train the next generation of freshwater professionals and to advance fundamental and strategic science to inform policy, improve management, and promote the health and sustainability of freshwater systems worldwide.
J. P. Cullen & Sons is a 120-year-old, fifth-generation general contracting and construction management firm. In addition to its Janesville headquarters, the company’s Milwaukee division office is located in Brookfield.

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