UW-Whitewater: Ground broken for Innovation Center in Whitewater University Technology Park
Contact: Richard Telfer
262-473-0500, ext. 200
WHITEWATER -- Shovels hit the ground Tuesday to begin building a center of research and job creation in the Innovation Center at Whitewater University Technology Park.
The ceremonial groundbreaking marks the start of the first building in the 125-acre park, a joint project of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, city of Whitewater and the Whitewater Community Development Authority.
"For UW-Whitewater, the Innovation Center has a lot of value," Chancellor Richard Telfer told the audience. "It will be a place where faculty, staff and students can come to develop their business ideas. We're excited about it."
"This has been a tremendous collaborative venture,'' said Kevin Brunner, Whitewater city manager.
Construction is expected to begin in May on the 38,000-square-foot Innovation Center, a business incubator whose first tenant will be CESA 2, the state's largest Cooperative Educational Service Agency.
Gary Albrecht, executive director of CESA 2, said Tuesday the Innovation Center offers "a tremendous, unique opportunity to partner with a university."
As the park develops, it is intended to foster the growth of ideas from researchers into businesses that will create jobs and boost economic development in the community and the region.
Five major contracts for the project have been awarded. The jobs, winning low bidders and amounts are:
* General construction, J. P. Cullen and Sons, Janesville, $2,890,195.
* Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, North American Mechanical, De Forest; $984,600.
* Electrical, Rewald Electric, Burlington; $504,835.
* Plumbing and site utilities, DeGarmo Plumbing, Janesville; $184,600.
* Fire protection, Freedom Fire Protection, Germantown; $45,950.
Whitewater City Manger Kevin Brunner said these bids, combined with other construction-related costs for the project, mean the total construction cost will be $4,963,916.
That's about eight percent less than the project budget of $5.4 million, he said.
The two-story Innovation Center has been designed as an environmentally friendly building by Eppstein Uhen Architects of Madison and Milwaukee. Completion is expected in January 2011.
A federal economic development grant of $4.7 million was awarded in September to help fund the Innovation Center and technology park improvements.
Representatives of U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, attended the groundbreaking, as did state Sens. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, and Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, and state Reps. Kim Hixson D-Whitewater, and Steve Nass, R-Whitewater.
The address of Whitewater University Technology Park is 1231 Innovation Drive (formerly Corporate Drive). Its other boundaries are Howard Road, Bluff Road and Moraine View Park.