Master Plan
What is a campus master plan?

A campus master plan is a comprehensive, integrative document that defines space-use needs and organization principles, establishes the framework that enables the vision of the campus to be accomplished, and identifies implementation strategies. UWM's planning process will be highly inclusive, and it will incorporate academic and physical master planning.

What's currently happening with the campus master plan?
The master plan is now complete.  Plan documents are available here.

Who are the campus master plan consultants?
Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. (HGA), Milwaukee , and Sasaki Associates, Watertown , MA were selected by a seven-member selection team administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

For more information about the consultants, please click here.

How were the consultants selected?
The entire selection process was administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA). DOA issued a request for consulting services in early December, and formed a consulting services selection team which consists of representatives from DOA, UW-System, and UWM. There were seven voting members on the selection team, and UWM and UW-System each had one vote.

On January 23, 2008, the selection team conducted an initial screening of the consulting groups, and on February 19, the selection team held final interviews and DOA made the selection shortly thereafter.

How long will it take to complete?
The UWM campus master planning process will take approximately two years to complete. The consultants were selected in February 2008, and the plan will be completed in 2010.

Why does UWM need a campus master plan?
It has been over 35 years since UWM last completed a master plan. The University of Wisconsin - System recommends that its campuses engage in a substantial update of their master plans every 10 years. Consequently, UWM is long overdue for a comprehensive review of its current and future space needs.

What will the master plan do?
The master plan will make recommendations as to how the university can improve and create connectivity between university programs and community needs, and will provide guidance for future capital improvements, both on the main east side campus and within the Milwaukee region.

What does a master plan look like?
While all master plans are different, here are some recent examples of campus master plans that are available for review on the internet:
Again, these are merely examples of recent plans, and they are being provided solely to demonstrate what a completed campus master plan looks like. The final UWM Campus Master Plan may look entirely different from any of the plans listed here.

How can I get involved?
Throughout the two-year process, the master plan consultants will hold listening sessions with specific academic and support units on campus, as well as open forums for the campus community and community at large. Please visit this web site and check the Schedule page for meetings and announcements.

Additionally, the campus community and public are welcome to submit questions and comments anytime to

What is happening with the Columbia Hospital site? How does it fit into the campus master plan?
UWM commissioned a feasibility study of the Columbia site that was completed in early 2005.  Subsequently, the State Building Commission recommended approval of $56,550,000 General Fund Supported Borrowing as matched by $56,550,000 Program Revenue Supported Borrowing to be used for purchase and renovation for the site over the next four years (2007 thru 2011).  In March 2007, the State Building Commission recommended deferring the funding to the 2009-11 and 2011-13 capital budgets.  In fall 2007, Columbia-St. Mary’s issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), offering private developers the opportunity to submit proposals for acquisition and redevelopment of the Columbia site.  In May, 2009, it was reported that Weas Development Co. signed an agreement to purchase the site.

While the Columbia site has been examined and discussed as part of the campus master planning process, since it will be acquired by a private developer, a variety of alternatives for campus expansion are also being examined.

Who can I contact with questions?
If you have questions about the planning process, please send them to or call (414) 229-5188.

What will the final Master Plan look like?
It is anticipated that the Master Plan will be a rendition of a physical campus layout that reflects academic and research plans, enhancements to student services and campus life, considerations for sustainability—including landscaping, alternatives for transportation, parking and pedestrian access, and adjacencies for internal and external partnerships in strategic settings.

Will a single vision be delivered at the end of the process or will we continue with multiple visions?
A single vision will be developed, but it will continue to evolve as the planning process continues. The Master Plan has been referred to as a toolkit or roadmap rather than a fixed plan; it will be a flexible set of parameters within which to move forward.

Was consideration given to the current patterns of classroom use and times of use? If classes were more distributed, would the shortfalls go away? Will a shift to online education in the future affect plans for campus physical needs?
Yes. The emphasis on online program development in the academic plans submitted by the schools/colleges has been taken into consideration as enrollment and space needs are being projected accordingly. Hybrid learning strategies, that is, partially delivering courses on-line with limited classroom interaction, could diminish the need for additional classrooms. In more direct response to the question, looking at the patterns of use could reduce the need, but it would require more focus on the off-peak use of the classrooms, notably, Friday.

Will internal connectivity and pedestrian walkways be a consideration?
When considering any of the development sites, the complete campus experience is being considered. This includes pedestrian connectivity, as well as campus edges, vehicular and transit circulation, and other factors that influence movement and campus experience.

What are the transportation implications for the three visions?
Each of the three scenarios represents different levels of investment in regional transit. Scenarios that place more programs off campus will require a significant commitment to transit.

What is the proposed scale of the buildings illustrated in the visions?
The scale of the buildings, both massing and height, will be determined based on response to the environment (sun, shadow, wind), the context of the building, and the nature of the activity that takes place within it. 

Will the undergraduate experience move off the Kenwood campus for any students?
This is not anticipated. The Kenwood campus is the desired location for an integrated undergraduate student experience.

Should the current economic situation factor into our thinking about the master planning of the campus?
Yes. The Master Plan is focused on the long term future of the University, and is meant to be a tool that remains relevant through various economic ups and downs. While there are some immediate opportunities and challenges that the current economic situation provides, the Master Plan takes a longer view toward the future of the University.

Is the move to Wauwatosa a done deal?
Plans regarding acquisition by UWM’s Real Estate Foundation and potential use of a Wauwatosa site are still under discussion.

Who ultimately decides on campus buildings and planning?
The regular process for decision-making on campus, through shared governance, the Board of Regents, and legislative committees, is enriched by the expert work of the consultants. Multiple factors and stakeholders play a role in this process. Factors to be considered include economic conditions in the state and UW System, academic priorities, physical space needs and urgencies, private partnerships, philanthropic gifts, and so forth.

How have we dealt with decision-making in the past?
Decisions in the past have always involved multiple stakeholders including the state, community, city, county, Board of Regents, UW-System, UWM administration, and shared governance groups.