MSOE to turn former residence into music conservatory

A rendering of the proposed Patricia Kern Conservatory of Music at MSOE. (Rendering courtesy of Ramlow/Stein.)

Last updated on March 3rd, 2023 at 04:03 pm

The Milwaukee School of Engineering has announced place to turn an historic home at 308 E. Juneau Ave. in downtown Milwaukee into The Patricia E. Kern Conservatory of Music.

In a press release issued Wednesday morning, the school said it has acquired the one-time single-family residence – and funds for the renovation – thanks to the support of MSOE alumni and friends.

“The Patricia E. Kern Conservatory of Music will be home to MSOE’s music programs, giving students ample space to pursue their musical passion, cultivate their creativity, and rehearse with their peers,” said Dr. John Walz, MSOE president. “We are grateful for the support of our university community in making this dream a reality for our students, particularly our alumni and friends who have made this beautiful new student-focused space possible.”

There are several music ensembles at MSOE including the Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, String Orchestra, Concert Choir, Pep Band and Jazz Combo, the release states.

“As one of the nation’s premier technical universities, MSOE draws students from around the world with increasingly diverse interests,” said Seandra Mitchell, MSOE vice president of student affairs and campus inclusion. “Along with our expanded athletics programs, campus life and co-curricular offerings, music and performing arts top the list of interests that students want to pursue as part of their collegiate experience.”

According to city property records, MSOE purchased the 4,412-square-foot residential building in December 2021 for $600,300. Constructed in 1888, the nine-bedroom, three-bathroom property had most recently served as a triplex, city records show. The last owners were U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman and his wife Elizabeth Adelman, those records state.

The conservatory is expected to be open to MSOE students by the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year.

About Patricia and Robert Kern

Dr. Patricia Kern was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from MSOE in 2000, in recognition of her professional and philanthropic work in the community. She co-founded the Kern Family Foundation in 1998 with her husband Dr. Robert Kern after they sold Generac Power Systems, a company they founded in 1959. She supported several organizations, including MSOE and Project Lead The Way. Her legacy lives on at MSOE, most visibly in the Kern Center and Viets Field and soon in the Patricia E. Kern Conservatory of Music. Patricia died in 2017. Robert in 2022.

“Pat and Bob Kern were devoted supporters of MSOE and its students,” said Walz. “Pat had a love for singing and music and a passion for paying it forward, so it is fitting that the new dedicated space for music at MSOE be named in her honor.”

A rendering gives the sense of what the interior of MSOE’s proposed Patria Kern Music Conservatory might look like once students are able to use it during the 2023-2024 school year. (Ramlow/Stein)

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Cara covers commercial and residential real estate. She has an extensive background in local government reporting and hopes to use her experience writing about both urban and rural redevelopment to better inform readers. Cara lives in Waukesha with her husband, a teenager, a toddler, a dog named Neutron, a bird named Potter, and a lizard named Peyoye. She loves music, food, and comedy, but not necessarily in that order.

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