Master Plan
UWM Aerial View
The present "L" shaped main campus on Milwaukee's east side evolved from the Milwaukee Normal School, which was established in 1909 in what is now Mitchell Hall. After acquiring neighboring institutions between 1956 and 1965, the main campus is now 93 acres, which includes 73 acres that can be developed, and 20 acres, known as the Downer Woods, that are protected from development by state statute. In 2001, UWM acquired property and a remodeled building, the Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, adjacent to the south side of campus.  

UWM also has other facilities within the Milwaukee metropolitan area. For over 30 years, the off-campus Kenilworth Building served as a base for campus physical plant services. In 2006, Kenilworth was redeveloped to provide art department studio space, student housing, and retail space. Physical plant services were relocated to a newly acquired University Services Building just north of campus on Capitol Drive.

Housing for 488 new freshman students is being constructed approximately 1.5 miles from campus by a private entity and will be leased and operated by UWM starting in 2008. The UWM School of Continuing Education was consolidated in downtown Milwaukee in 1996 in the Plankinton Building adjoining the Grand Avenue Mall. At that time, the former Civic Center campus downtown was eliminated. The Great Lakes Research Facility (GLRF) is located south of downtown adjacent to Lake Michigan. The UWM Field Station near Saukville provides natural communities for research and instruction.

The Board of Regents approved the first campus physical development plan in 1960 when UWM consisted of only 7,000 students and six buildings. Caudill Rowlett Scott completed the last campus master plan for UWM in 1970. The plan included the definition of zones for future buildings, pedestrian and vehicle movement, the preservation and refinement of open space, and parking and transit needs. The framework was intended to be structured enough to direct growth, yet flexible enough to accept new and changing programs. That plan served as the foundation for the campus development, and the campus has been fully built-out based on that plan. To ease the burden of vehicle traffic and parking on the main campus, master plan recommendations led to the development of off-campus satellite parking facilities served with a shuttle bus service.  

Opportunities for further development of the main campus are limited to construction of replacement space on the sites of demolished buildings or on existing surface parking lots. The adjacency of residential neighborhoods makes campus expansion difficult. One opportunity for expansion includes the Columbia-St. Mary's (CSM) Columbia Campus hospital site bordering the northwest edge of UWM. CSM is currently building a replacement hospital facility on the lower east side of Milwaukee, so the Columbia Campus is available for acquisition. In early 2005, UWM completed a feasibility study regarding the potential uses and renovation cost if the university acquired the Columbia facilities; the state has enumerated monies for this purpose.

There are also opportunities for the development of regional campuses. Possible locations include a site in Wauwatosa for the development of research facilities providing proximity to Milwaukee Regional Medical Center (comprised of Medical College of Wisconsin, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin, Froedtert Hospital, and others), Milwaukee County Research Park, and other research-intensive enterprises with whom the university could partner.

Another regional need is improved health care, particularly for under-served populations. Consequently, a new UWM School of Public Health - the first school or college to be added to the university since 1975 - is being established. Public health services are best located close to communities in need of such care. The Aurora Sinai site, in the heart of downtown, offers an opportunity for UWM to co-locate clinical facilities that provide clinical experience to students in health care professions.

In February 2007, Governor Doyle recommended $3.0 million for an Engineering Campus study, and $300,000 for a School of Public Health study as part of the 2007-2009 capital budget. It was determined that a portion of these funds would be utilized for a comprehensive master plan for all UWM properties. In July 2007, the Board of Regents approved $2.0 million for the master plan, and in August 2007, the State Building Commission granted the state the authority to hire a master plan consultant.