UWM retains Kahler Slater for $80 million Columbia Hospital renovation project

Project would transform former hospital complex into interdisciplinary academic district

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The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has hired Milwaukee-based architecture and design firm Kahler Slater Inc. to design its planned $80.1 million renovation of the former Columbia Hospital complex.

The former Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital campus.

UWM purchased the complex, which is adjacent to its main Kenwood Campus, in 2010. The project encompasses approximately 470,100 square feet across several former hospital buildings.

The university plans to create an interdisciplinary academic district on the property that would serve the College of Nursing, College of Health Sciences, School of Information Studies and Student Health Services.

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The UW Board of Regents approved a $52.1 million bond authority for the project in September 2017, but it will require other sources of funding, UWM officials said.

The facilities for the College of Nursing would include a high-fidelity simulation center and clinical instructional laboratories, Kahler Slater said. The College of Health Sciences facilities would include instructional laboratories, as well as research, clinic and outreach spaces.

The facilities will allow the Partners for Health initiative, a collaboration of UWM’s three health-related schools and colleges, to address community health issues; prepare students for jobs with professionals in health fields; and facilitate knowledge-sharing among faculty, businesses and the public sector, Kahler Slater said.

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The space for the School of Information Studies will include instructional laboratories and specialized technology laboratories. A new Student Health Services clinic will replace the aging Norris Health Center.

Updates to the buildings will also include changes required for compliance with life safety codes, building envelope and other repairs, Kahler Slater said.

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