Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship construction costs increasing

Issues with soft soil require additional excavating


The construction costs for the new Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are increasing by $500,000 after soil at the future site of the building at Kenwood Boulevard and Maryland Avenue was softer than expected.

The latest rendering of the Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship, designed by Continuum Architects.

The issue will require additional excavating of the site followed by an engineered fill to make sure the ground can handle the building above it.

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents Capital Planning and Budget Committee approved the 6.4 percent increase in the project budget, bringing the total to $8,268,000.

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Addressing the softer soil will not impact the construction timeline for the project, according to Geoff Hurtado, UWM associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and management.

The timeline for the 23,525-square-foot, two-story building was previously shifted back from an opening in late 2017 or early 2018 to competition in late 2018. The university hopes to break ground on the project later this year.

The Lubar Center will be home to entrepreneurial programs and initiatives, along with a welcome center for the entire campus.

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The project was initiated by a $10 million donation from Lubar & Co. founder Sheldon Lubar and his wife, Marianne, announced in July 2015. Since that initial gift, the UW System has contributed $10 million from its fund balances to cover construction costs. Another $2 million was donated by Fiduciary Management Inc. founder Ted Kellner and his wife Mary’s family foundation, the Kelben Foundation. Serial entrepreneur Jerry Jendusa kicked in $1 million.

Funding for the increased construction costs will come from money remaining from the demolition of a former building on the site.

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